A relationship client of mine came in yesterday to my Vancouver counselling practice and while telling me something about his story started to minimize and say that certain steps he had taken weren’t necessarily that great despite him finding them challenging. It was interesting because it started the dialogue around how we need to see success as success instead of minimizing or dismissing it.
This couldn’t be more true for those who struggle with an eating disorder. Those who struggle face battles that most people don’t even know exist and things that may seem normal or easy for others, feel impossibly difficult when you live with this disorder. Because eating disorders are so cruel and punitive, it is absolutely critical that each step forward be something that you celebrate.
Every human being has a destructive side of their brain and a healthy part of their brain. The eating disorder resides in the destructive and, when struggling, that is the side that is dominant. Each time you take a step towards recovery you engage your healthy side. You go into battle and you win, whatever battle that may be. Each battle won takes you closer to winning the war.
So if today your war is trying a new food, or giving yourself permission to get a latte, or following through on your self care, celebrate it and celebrate it big. Buying yourself a balloon, or some flowers. Do a happy dance or simply give yourself a huge hug and say out loud to yourself “I did it, I won the battle.” Success in eating disorders is determined by doing something that the eating disorder doesn’t want you to do. That will be different for everyone, but every single step you take towards what you want (and sometimes that is just refusing to step back into certain behaviors and staying completely still where you are) is a huge achievement.
I think you’re brave and courageous for doing so. So know that wherever you are, I am sending you a hug and a doing a happy dance with you in pure celebration for how amazing and strong you are.