Every once in awhile you meet someone who can put words to things that you have either only ever felt but never expressed, or that you have witnessed but never articulated. Paige Freeborn is a volunteer at the Looking Glass Foundation and someone I am fortunate enough to work alongside in our Hand in Hand program. She is a remarkable woman, who has done and is doing some really beautiful things in and to this world. In scrolling through the blogs on the Looking Glass site, I came across a blog post she recently wrote. In reading it, it moved me in ways I didn’t expect. So much of what she shares I have either personally experienced or had clients experience in their journeys to recovery. It is both incredibly real, and also incredibly hopeful, something that doesn’t always come across when reading blogs. It touches on feelings, presence, actions, and processes. I feel as though it left me changed. Here are a few of my favourite lines throughout her post. Not only do I think these are so very honest and true, but I also find them validating to the journey through this mental illness. I will post the link to her post below, I hope it moves you the same way it moved me.
Self-hatred became debilitating as the eating disorder wore on, and healing became a radical act of compassion that started with forgiveness. I needed to learn to forgive myself, forgive others, and have compassion for every part of my experience, for it is only when we lovingly embrace our own suffering that we can stop the endless cycle of self-hatred and shame.
As our illness wears on, we feel less resilient, and it takes less time for us to reach the point where we engage in destructive behaviours. As we lose resilience, our bodies and minds move further away from optimum health, and our tolerance for our own suffering – and the suffering of others – diminishes. Living with an eating disorder can become a whirling vortex of despair.
As I learned to ride the waves of discomfort, I learned to soften into every hard edge. As I learned to relax, I became more interested in what I was experiencing, and I became more tender towards my feelings.
As we learn to love ourselves, we come to understand that our eating disorder was borne out of a place of deep sensitivity, and a desire to be loved. As we heal, we fall in love with every part of ourselves, even the parts we didn’t think were worthy of love. Healing means loving the dark places in ourselves, and all the parts of ourselves we didn’t think were ok.
Here is the full post. Take a read and let me know what you think!