I have been reading a lot of articles as of late that apply to eating disorder recovery, stages of change and why eating disorders are about more than just food and body image. I find I always learn something new when I read articles, whether that be a whole new approach to eating disorder treatment/recovery, or even just what my reactions to the material tell me about my feelings/opinions or thoughts on recovery. So many of these articles provide such valuable insight into what recovery looks like and what tends to be helpful vs what isn’t. One of the pieces I think is often forgotten is the importance of instilling hope in those who are suffering regardless of where they are in their journey.
When you suffer with an eating disorder, whether that be on the restrictive or binge eating side, believing that there is an end and that you can recover (in whatever way recovery looks for you) tends to be critical to the recovery journey. Because it tends to feel like you’re climbing everest, we all need to know that there is someone walking beside us who can give us oxygen when we feel ours has run out. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the saving grace in our moments of fear and hesitation. But hope also has to be authentic. There is a difference between cheerleading and instilling hope: Hope comes from the place of genuine believing and authentic support of someone’s journey. In other words, it is acknowledging just how great the struggle is and encouraging sometimes to just take one step. Focusing on the foot in front of you instead of the summit. Cheerleading is trying to say the “right words” and tell people that everything will be okay and they can do this, without actually investing in joining the person on their journey. Hope makes a world of difference to how much someone can believe in themselves and their recovery, cheerleading typically falls flat.
So find someone, anyone, who can instill hope in you that you too can get well. That there is hope and you can get well. From there, and with that, I assure you the rest becomes more manageable.