Breakthroughs in Eating Disorder Recovery
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my breakthroughs in eating disorder recovery over the past 5 years. A recent major breakthrough happened just this past Spring. I find it ironic, because up until then, I felt very confident I was recovered from bulimia. But after the passing of a family member I deeply loved and cared for in late May, and while I was mourning that loss, I experienced a great deal of pain and sadness. Both were triggering my eating disorder, threatening the breakthroughs I've experienced in eating disorder recovery. Ultimately, I avoided a relapse thanks to the support of my friends and family. I also reached out to my therapist and together, we worked on some of the issues I had thought were resolved, but under the surface, seemed to still have a hold on me.
What I discovered over these few sessions, is that I had to forgive myself for many things I had experienced in my life, and one of them, was the fact that I had a mental illness. I learned how to give myself permission to entertain the idea that I forgave myself for the mistakes I had made and the harm I had inflicted upon myself. Something amazing happened in the following weeks…My heart grew lighter; I started to breathe again and to go on with my daily life, because I no longer felt guilty or remorseful for my past behaviors.
Forgiveness Exercise to Turn a Trigger to a Breakthrough
I’d like to share with you what this process of forgiving myself was like. Of course in my case, in this instance, it applies to my history with my eating disorder, but you can also apply use it for other issues in your life too.
Lemoine, P. (2013, August 27). Breakthroughs in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2013/08/triggers-and-breakthroughs-in-eating-disorder-recovery
Author: Patricia Lemoine
I really feel like I'm still at the stage with my mental Illness where I've crammed away any feelings of how this is actually impacting ME. I see how it affects other people around me, especially those who love me, but I've yet to get the courage of actually sitting down and processing how I have personally been harmed by it. I think part of this is that I tend to minimize things, especially when it comes to my anxiety, so I haven't validated my real feelings. I do, however, remember when I had a relapse and needed to go back to therapy. The feelings towards myself were very damaging. That I wasn't good enough, that my psychologist was going to laugh at me, that I'm a failure, that I'll never be normal, etc.
While I've never thought about the harm I caused towards ME. Perhaps this is something I should do to help with my continued recovery.
Great post and thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings :)
I'm glad Patricia has made you think! The program I was most recently in had us attend 12-step groups. In step eight, you make a list of all the people you have wronged, and become willing to make amends. We discussed at length the importance of forgiving ourselves and having gentler self-talk. Shaming ourselves for our illness does no one any good and it detrimental to our recoveries.
I hope you take some time to consider the harm you have caused yourself -- and how you can move towards forgiveness and acceptance!
Hello to you both!
Steve, thank you for your comment. I certainly can appreciate the fact that we try to minimize the impact our mental illness has on ourselves. However, I've learned that until we realize we are the ones we've hurt first, it's hard to move on. Thank you for your courage in speaking out about your experience. That's the first step ;)
I have to remind myself everyday that I have to show up - in my own life, for myself- so that I can be there for others. It's a lifelong process I think.
Jess, it's a crucial step you're referring to. When we remove the shame we've draped ourselves with, it seems easier to breathe and live. <3 Thank you for being there.