I sat in the same therapist’s office I had been visiting weekly for years. I complained yet again that I had body image issues and I didn’t want to recover from anorexia because I was already fat. That’s right—at a BMI that was well below the “healthy” range, I believed I was fat. I was willing to starve myself to death rather than follow my meal plan because at that moment in time, being skinny was all that mattered to me.
I went on, and on, and on… “Sarah, I cannot eat because I’m fat. It’s that simple. I don’t want to recover and I will NOT recover if it means I have to eat. Normal people can eat. I’m not normal. I’m special. I don’t need food.” And do you know what Sarah’s response was? “Get over yourself!”
Yup, my therapist told me to get over myself. It sounds harsh, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. I was slowly killing myself with every excuse known to man, and Sarah had had enough of my bullshit. She challenged me to dig deeper, to set aside the superficial obsession with being the skinniest girl in the world, and face my deepest fears—the ones that lay at the very core of my eating disorder.
I’m not saying that people with eating disorders are vain. If anything, we are selfless to a fault. However, sometimes, we get so caught up in the lies that Ed feeds us that we lose sight of reality. The real issue that prevents us from seeking recovery is not the fear of gaining weight—that’s what Ed wants us to think. No, the root of our inhibition for recovery is staring that demon in the eyes and taking back our power.
At some point while we were sick, Ed took our power from us and brainwashed us into believing that following his rules would make us perfect. In reality, we were like zombies, slowly destroying ourselves. It can be scary to truly have power over our own lives and bodies. For me, the thought of having real choice was terrifying. Now, after being in recovery for a while, I can promise you that having real choice and real power is a hell of a lot less scary than I initially thought. Recovery is a choice, and it’s a big one. But the peace and confidence you will gain makes all the initial fear worth it!
I can honestly say that “getting over myself” was the start of a beautiful recovery. When you look at the core of your eating disorder and come to terms with what is really keeping you sick, the world (and recovery) becomes yours!