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ED Hell
Feelings/Thoughts
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Feelings/Thoughts
 
Eating Distress for many people entails two factors - one being how you feel, and the other has to do with how you think.  I don't believe that this applies for all who suffer though, as everyone's recovery is different.  The feelings do definitely apply to everyone - the reason a lot of people get depressed, in a general sense, is through lack of communication.  For the most part, I am going to focus in on some of the feelings, and what they mean for me.

Fear
 
What is it with fear that makes it so unbelievably strong?  Why is it so intense, or even paralysing?  How do you get beyond the point of being engulfed with fear?  How is it that fear can be so overwhelming at times?  How is that fear can make clam up, or even retreat?  Is there really anything to fear?  I say yes.  Why would I feel such intense fear, to the point where I practically shake - that my legs just want to buckle, and I want to collapse in a heap on the floor?
 
Is it possible to get beyond fear of such intensity?  I don't know, but by continuing on this journey, surely I will find the key!?!  Sometimes I just wish that someone could give me that ever magic, golden key that would help me unlock this cage of mine.  Do I really have the key within me?  I don't know.  By continuing on this journey I sure am looking, but it still remains a mystery to me...  Where does that key hide itself, because I sure don't know!  At this point on my journey, it is hard to believe that I just might be sitting on the key, but I stand up, and it doesn't appear on the chair beneath where I was.  If only that golden key were more tangible...
 
Change
 
During my recovery, I went through more changes, than I would have ever thought possible.  Adapting to these changes took some time, as at the time of some distressing changes, I found the pathway very difficult.  The changes which proved most difficult were those that were outside of my control.  It is one thing when changes are of my doing (eg changing jobs etc), but when it is changes that someone else makes, it makes the adaptations that I needed to make as a consequence that bit more difficult.  During these times I felt bewildered, betrayed, scared etc.  So many feelings of distrust, and unworthiness.  Change and adaptations are one of the most difficult things that occurred during my recovery.  I sincerely believe though, that it was through times such as this, that I found out more about who I was, and the strength that I had within me.
 
Shame
 
I have felt so much shame around my eating disorder.  Shame for having, and suffering with the eating distress.  Also, shame on not being able to let go (which is no longer the case).  I realised at one point (since seeing one of the therapists at the centre I go to in the changing room of the gym I attend) that I had so much shame around my body.  I always knew that I had problems with my body image, but after she saw me stark naked, I realised just the depth of the shame I had surrounding my body.
 
Trust
 
Trust is something that I have always found difficult.  I know that part of the reason for this, is because I have been let down by people most of my life.  When I changed therapists, during my recovery, I found that internally I was in a constant battle over whether I could trust him or not.  I guess, part of me felt, for some time, fear and mistrust over whether or not he would stay.  Also, I feared trusting too soon.  I felt, pretty much straight away, that I could trust him, but yet, I was afraid to go down that path for some time.  Earlier on, whenever I took a step and trusted him on some level, there was a part of me that started panicking over taking that step.
 
I find for me trust is something, that during various times in life, it is important for me to revisit.  In the past I found trusting people on the outset extremely difficult, whereas now, it is rebuilding trust with people who have let me down.  I am currently contemplating the trust worthiness of some people that I have been let down by, in different ways.  It is definitely harder to rebuild trust, after you have been let down.  I am not saying that it is an impossibility, though sadly, in some cases this is so.  I know one person, who for the moment I do not trust her, but know that there is still hope of working through that.  However, in cases where I have been shattered, I know that rebuilding trust is out of the equation.  Sometimes I have found it difficult to accept that I really do not trust certain people.  However, in order to do that it is important to firsty acknowledge it, and then in time it does become easier to accept that fact.
 
Communication
 
Communication is a huge part of what eating distress (or lack thereof) is all about.  Personally, I believe that it's not voicing, or even at times, being unable to voice your views that leads to depression.  Depression and eating distress, for the most part, tend to go hand in  hand.  However, I would say that how a message is relayed is important - it is always important for all parties involved (especially during times of conflict), to air their views.  This can lead firstly, to a clearer understanding of the problem from both sides.  If one person doesn't get to voice their views, whether that be because a message was relayed to them in an appropriate manner, or by choice, it can lead you to feelings of hurt, anger, resentment etc.  Some things are best said to the person one-on-one, and not by e-mail, text etc, as otherwise the receiver of the message is left hanging.  The power of being able to voice their views was taken away from them, even if they do see the other perspecive.  Personally, I believe that it is unfair for one person to get to air their views when another person is left hanging with whatever feelings they have.  I was in such a situation recently, and what hurt more was not what the message entailed, but the how it was delivered.  If you feel a need to respond straight away, what I would suggest is to imagine yourself in the recipients shoes - how would you feel if the same message was relayed to you. 
 
Use/Choice of Words
 
Throughout my recovery, the word condition has always niggled at me.  I always felt by saying  something was the condition took away from the responsibility that everyone has, in regards to their own recovery.  I was reading somewhere recently, that the minute you label something as a condition, distress, disorder, illness etc has the impact of magnifying the struggle.  When such labels are used, it can keep you trapped/stuck in whatever needs to be changed.  Personally, I believe this to be true.  I was going through a rough time a little over a year ago, and I tried to be honest to my previous therapist about how I was feeling etc.  Her response was that she felt that the condition was using her pending departure as an excuse to be feeling this way.  Such proclamations, for me, have been anything but helpful!  This had a knock-on affect of me not talking about the situation anymore.  It felt as if she didn’t believe me, when I tried to be honest with her about how much I was hurting at the time.  The irony had to be though, that a few months later she said to me that was conscious that I hadn’t spoken much about her leaving.
 
 
Positive Versus Negative
 
It has always bothered me the way that people claim something to be "the negativity".  I will admit that I have a tendecy to be hard on myself, but personally, by saying it's the negativity takes away firstly, from the fact that the eating distress is part of who I am.  It has made me who I am today.  I would not be the person I am, if I had never suffered with eating distress.  I believe that you have to embrace the ed inorder to move on.  Also, I feel that by focusing on whether something is positive or negative, can potentially, have the impact of keeping you trapped in the black/white (all-or-nothing) way of being.  I prefer to just take things as they come.  I'm not as hard on myself as I used to be.  This hasn't come about by focusing on positive versus negative etc, it has come about through communication - being honest with people etc.  I know it sounds simple enough written here, but beleive me, it's not quite as simplistic as that.  Everyone's journey is unique.
 
 
Regrets
 
Throughout my recovery I had heard people say that they had regrets about what they had missed out on in life etc, and how they saw regrets as being a negative.  In my opinion, having regrets is a positive trait.  By being able to acknowledge that you do have regrets is a trait that also enables a person to be able to acknowledge when they have done something wrong, and as a consequence of this, more able to apologise.  From my experience, it is those that don't have regrets that are least likely to be able to admit their humaneness and apologise.  One of my family members would have been this way, and as a consequence of not having regrets, is unable to apologise for his shortcomings.  He is the type of person that always tries to make something out to be of the other person's doing.  I see that being able to acknowledge that you have regrets is a sign of strength, whereas if you live a life without being able to acknowledge regrets, that is a harder place to be in.  We are all human, and a part of being human, is being able to be humble, and even to reflect back on what could have been.  However, it is important not to dwell on these too much - but more to use these as an opportunity for learning, on where to go from here...
 
Anger
 
For a long time during my recovery process, I was unable to acknowledge or admit that I was feeling angry about certain situations.  Later on, I would have been able to acknowledge it within, but without verbalising it.  I used to feel so ashamed if I felt angry, because I saw anger as being a sign of weakness.  However, I am glad to say that today my experience is different.  I am able to acknowledge that I am feeling angry, and more able to do what needs to be done to address the issue at hand.  Also, it is through anger that we truly find our own inner strength, and really get to know more about who we are.  Also, it is through anger where we truly find where our own values lie.  Like any other emotion, it is not a negative - any emotion, whatever it is, is positive.  Some feelings are unpleasant, but being able to acknowledge any feeling, whatever it is, is a sign of strength and of growing awareness...
 
Vulnerability
 
Throughout my recovery process I went through various elements of vulnerability.  Even though now recovered, the vulnerability is still there - however unlike before, when I would have hid from the world, I am now able to go out and hold my head up high, and get on with whatever it is that needs to be done on any given day.  I went through a patch during my recovery, that the vulnerability was quite intense, that it was almost like fear.  The vulnerability would have been at its peak during times when I was trying to ground and reaffirm who I was, and having certain aspects knocked by various people around me (i.e. work colleagues, family, friends and acquaintances).  An example that comes to mind in my current life, is with a work colleague, who is constantly inconsistent - in the past this would have had the impact of me questioning myself, whereas now I can see that this is her way of trying to show her power.  Anyhow, vulnerability is something that does not disappear with recovery, though it does become more manageable.  Through recovery the impact of what vulnerability does, does not have the same hold as it once did.  Vulnerability, like many other aspects of what recovery entailed, are part of what being human is about.

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