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The Time It Takes To Heal

Why is this so hard? Why am I not better yet? I thought because I made the decision to get help that it would mean things would only get easier from here.

I hear these types questions all the time in my office and, to be honest, I find them incredibly sad. If I could invent a pill that would allow people to heal from their eating disorder…or any pain for that matter – I would gladly do it and put myself out of business. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Part of the reason I find this so sad is because these questions point to one of the biggest struggles I see in my office – the struggle to see oneself as good enough.

People with Eating Disorders almost always struggle with their self worth. This struggle is usually at the root of their eating disorder and one of the more painful parts of recovery for them to work through. I will speak more about this in a later post along with ways to improve your self worth and self esteem.

Holding yourself up to the expectation that you get well quickly is only another way that the abusive voice in your head is working to make you feel like a failure. Getting well is the emotional equivalent of going from being completely sedentary to completing an Ironman. Nobody wakes up the next day fully recovered just because they want to. It took you much longer to develop and maintain an eating disorder, and so it will take you time to get over it.

While there is no set time for recovery, if you keep working at it, despite the challenges and the anxiety, you will heal. Remind yourself of whose life this is to live, yours not the voices, and then be patient with yourself as you take the time to regain your strength and get your life back.

Acknowledge each step forward, regardless of how big or how small it is. Just the decision to get well is huge so be proud of yourself each and every day when you remind yourself that you are on this journey.

Recovery takes time and you will have days where you feel like you are taking steps backwards instead of forwards. This is normal and to be expected. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t minimize all of the accomplishments you have already achieved regardless of how big or small. Remember that every step forward is a step you weren’t taking before you decided to get well. Celebrate them and be proud of the strength you have to tackle your eating disorder and regain your sense of happiness and worth.

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