I had a tough and intense session with my counsellor two weeks ago. With my relationship ending, our focus has often shifted to dealing with the aftermath of that crisis and last week we finally got back to looking at my eating disorder.
I had not been doing well in progressing my recovery. The stress of the breakup had stalled me out and I was barely maintaining any previous gains, and forget about going any further.
She pushed me to choose. Do I want to choose recovery and the unknown that goes with it? Or do I want to choose the same behaviours that have made me unhappy for the last 10 years?
Seems like a simple choice.
It wasn’t. I felt trapped and exposed and challenged. I felt bitter and resentful. I felt like I wasn’t ready to have that kind of tough love and I wanted to run away and not go back ever. I wanted to blame her for forcing me to look at myself plainly and accept that I have responsibility for what happens in my life. I was armed with excused and reasons why, etc, etc. I left the session not sure I would go back.
Then I lived for two weeks. And, sometimes, I noticed when I was making the eating disordered choice and I chose the opposite. Not every time but far more than in the last 3 months. I did some things that were risks (for me) and I engaged with friends and family from a place of acknowledging that to live the life I want, I have to change. It didn’t always work, this wasn’t a miracle cure-all, and yet… there were some moments of hope.
I wonder how much of my sense of peace last week came from accepting that my life is up to me.
At the same time, I am terrified of that responsibility. I believe Viktor Frankl was right when he described that awareness of our own responsibility is one of the most difficult facets of being human. It is empowering but also daunting when, like me, you don’t quite trust yourself to make good decisions.
And yet, I’ve done okay. More often than not, I’ve noticed the joy of making decisions from a place of love and trust even when it does scare me. Even better, I’ve made some mistakes and it’s not been the end of the world! I credit part of this process to handing over some control to god/spirit/love/source. I’ll write more about that at some future point. Here and now, though, I see that I needed the push. I needed someone to tell me, in kindness, what I already knew: nothing changes if nothing changes.
In each moment, I have a choice. I want to choose life and love and connection. I will need to make that choice a hundred (a thousand!) times each day b/c my eating disordered side is loud and insistent. I CAN make that choice though – I CAN hear the quiet calm healthy side of me. I’ve silenced her for so long that she only wants to whisper but I can feel the breath of those loving murmurs spurring me to move on with hope and humility.