This article comes from EDV Telehealth Nurse and Peer Mentor, Gemma de Leo. If you are looking for additional support with navigating your recovery, a conversation with a Telehealth Nurse may be what you need. You can connect with Gemma and our Telehealth Nurse Team here.
Whether you have been in recovery for 5 weeks or 5 years – it’s likely that you may have found yourself thinking about some of the following questions:
Will I ever get better?
Will the thoughts ever go away?
Will I ever be able to accept myself?
Will I ever feel ok in my body?
As you know all too well, recovery is tough. It is a long and tiring journey – and can often feel like an uphill battle with no end in sight.
But the truth is, every meal, every urge not acted on, and every choice you make that supports your recovery is edging you closer to the freedom from your eating disorder that you rightfully deserve. It may not feel like it in those mundane, day-to-day moments; but each time you choose recovery over your eating disorder, the stronger your true self becomes, and the weaker the eating disorder gets. These changes don’t happen overnight – and in fact, it often gets harder before it gets easier. But with consistency and with time, one day you will be able to see how far you have come – without even realising it!
One such change is the relationship with self and with one’s body.
Body image and our feelings towards self are often one of the most challenging barriers in recovery. The following piece reflects on the evolution of the relationship towards self and one’s body throughout the recovery journey. It is a raw depiction of vulnerabilities, but explores the transition from fear and insecurity, the impact of the eating disorder, growth throughout the recovery process, and finally, acceptance. I hope you might find an essence of solace in reading this – to offer hope for your own journey too.
Dear body – an apology.
Dear body; I’m sorry.
I know we’ve been through some stuff.
I often wonder where it all went wrong.
From the confident and blissfully innocent young girl, to the girl who was so desperate to disappear.
The girl who feared so deeply growing up.
The girl who was so ashamed of her body.
The girl who didn’t have a sense of self, who didn’t know who she was – but believed she wasn’t enough.
The girl that didn’t feel special, who felt worthless and undeserving – so much so that she starved herself of nourishment, freedom and happiness.
The girl that had to make herself small to take up less space in the world.
The girl that felt too much – so much that she couldn’t express or understand – syphoned it into trying to find a sense of control of her body and self, but completely losing all control in the process.
For pushing friends and family away.
For the missed opportunities and life experiences you won’t get back.
For torturing you with exercise and punishing you through starvation.
For the constant stream of cruel, abusive, hurtful thoughts.
For fighting against you, a constant war – not realising we were on the same team.
I really did fight so damn hard to find you.
I persisted – through the blood, sweat, tears.
Even though I didn’t love you, I tried my best to nurture you.
I desperately seeked to let the joy back in – it was absolutely incredible – to feel happiness again.
But the more I reflect, the more I realise there were often “conditions” to this newfound sense of being.
I’m sorry that it was still hard to look at you in the mirror sometimes.
I’m sorry that the need to control you tried its best to creep back in.
I’m sorry that it took a conscious effort to not experience guilt when caring for you.
I’m sorry that your worth felt conditional at times.
I’m learning that you are my home.
I’m learning that life is precious, life is short; too short to be wasting time tearing you apart.
I’m learning that this battle is not about you. It never was. You didn’t do anything wrong.
I’m learning that no one hated themselves into loving themselves – I’m tired of fighting you, I want to make peace with you; my goodness I want to be your friend.
So body, my body, I say thank you.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
Thank you for keeping me together when my world was falling apart.
Thank you for walking me through all my travels and adventures.
Thank you for helping me see the beauty of this world in all its glory.
Thank you for helping me feel all the colours of emotions again.
Thank you for carrying me through this journey we call life.
Thank you, for being you.