Your Relationship and You

An inherent part of recovery is the idea of learning to love yourself again. Love the body you have been given, the strength that it gives you and the mind that you are blessed with. We are encouraged to treat our bodies with self care, respect and rest.

Learning to listen to the internal cues of hunger and pleasure is all part of healthy building that relationship with ourselves free from a distorted level of thinking often resulting in self loathing and punishment.

Sounds blissful doesn’t it?

What a beautiful and lovely thing to be able to give yourself- what a relationship to have. To give yourself rest, love and attention, and simply because “you’re worth it”.

For me, I found and still find this idea almost overwhelming. I struggle to grapple the reality of what “loving myself” actually looked like. How on earth is it possible to have a relationship with myself, when I’m already me? And what about that relationship with my illness?- with anorexia, depression and anxiety- what on earth will happen to the safest and longstanding relationship I know.

Part of the process has come from adapting the language I use about myself and the self dialogue I was having. It means that you learn to recognise the negative thoughts and the unhelpful behaviours eventually getting that separation from the illness. The goal is to become free from the deafening noises of illness, allowing the blossoming of a new relationship- a relationship between my body and mind, my soul and limbs… my heart and my head.

Recognising toxic thoughts is pivotal to recovery as the separation from these thoughts gives an element of peace and reflection. Consciously making the decision to listen to your heart when your head may be screaming otherwise.

Let’s take some examples that I am sure many can relate to:

“You must run… you must get out of bed at 6am to run, if not you don’t deserve to eat”

“You cannot eat that, that is a bad food”

“You do not deserve that, do X to cleanse yourself”

Sound familiar?

Well guess what, oh lovely body…

No, you don’t have to run. Sleep will not only do more good for your recovery but the rest will help to restore you, and no one earns the right to eat, it is a right and a joy that we are blessed with by simply being born.

There are no bad foods. Eating a food cannot make you a bad person. FULL STOP. Stealing food, well yes that is indeed a sin but no, no no no… there are no bad foods. A calorie is quite simply a unit of energy, and that energy is used for life. That’s the same for an avocado calorie, smartie calorie or sausage calorie!

And finally no behaviour, and I mean no behaviour will cleanse the body. To feel clean… take a shower, have a hot luxurious bath- but trust me, purging, exercising or restricting will not cleanse your body.

A relationship with another person is usually about compromise. When you love another person you take the time to listen to their likes and dislikes, make attempts to accommodate each other. But that is not the same as the cruel and manipulative relationship that you have with your illness. There is no room for compromises, no justification is necessary and there should be absolutely no allowances.

An abusive relationship by definition is an absurd love. It can manifest itself as admiration and attachment. Like that relationship, the one with our eating disorder is a complicated one, it stifles and blindsides us into believing that we somehow need it, that it brings something to our lives. This clever manipulation however, means trying to get away from it, becoming free from it can cause the most overwhelming feelings of    distress and anxiety. During the process of separation, mixed emotions can make the resorting back to the illness feel safe, secure- a constant security.  But just like that abusive partner- there is nothing safe about the illness, there is a only a distorted level of comfort and a web of lies and deceit.

There is no denying that break ups can be tough. Admitting that something is not right and finding the strength to walk away from it can be soul destroying, my experiences of break ups have left me feeling like a failure and riddled with guilt.

This is a break up, however that will only serve to restore your life. It will give you freedom and strength. It’s a breakup where there is so much light at the end of the tunnel it’s blinding.

And on this occasion dumping through text

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message is totally justified. Find that new relationship with yourself… You know what you’re really quite the catch.