Thankfully, there are a lot of amazing articles/blogs/etc. out there that cover much relating to eating disorders, recovery, body image, and the like. You hear a lot about the days where it's better -- which is important, because people need to know things can improve. Addtionally, some touch on the different ways to try and think, or new patterns to adopt, to get yourself to that new place. Really, really good intentioned things that are often written in swoopy-twirly cursive on pictures of butterflies and stuff, like:
Your worth does not lie in numbers.
No matter what they say, you are beautiful.
And I do not discredit these things. Not in the slightest. Because they are true. Hell, I've written about these ideals myself. But you can read all these blogs and look at all these inspirational pictures and, some days, they just don't change the fact that the brain calls the shots.
So, I wanted to write about another truth, and here it is: you can have the upper-hand for a while -- a few minutes, a few days, a few months. Years, even -- but there might still be moments where that voice you've been fighting to keep dormant isn't as quiet. And what then? You can tell yourself that it does not matter. That you are strong and wonderful and your body is a gift. That your worth does not lie in numbers and you are beautiful. But, when your brain is being a complete a-hole, those thoughts and words don't always change the Feeling. And the Feeling -- oh God, is can be horrible. It's disgust. It's the familiarity of disappointment. It may be frustration that, "Wait, I thought I've moved past this!" And you have. Do not disregard the work you have done, nor shame yourself for still fighting. These days are part of the process, part of the fight. They can show you show far you have come.
I try to tell myself, on these days, that I must be doing something right. Something that voice is afraid of. And it can be such a struggle that (thankfully, few and far between as I continue 8 years recovered) a literal conversation happens between me and my mind.
Voice, The Bitch
Voice: Have you noticed [redacted]?
Me: I guess so.
V: Must mean you're putting on weight.
M: That's OK.
V: Oh, sure. But all your weight goes to your lower body. Ready to look like a bottom heavy freak?
M: I do not look like that.
V: Not yet. But you have the weirdest ass I've ever seen. A disgusting, long ass that doesn't fit your body.
M: Fuck off.
V: And your thighs...
M: Fuck off.
V: Oh, and look what else...
M: Fuck. Off.
But some days it doesn't. Some days it lingers. It hangs. And the Feeling it brings is real. What it says may not be real, but the Feeling is real.
That is very real.
So what is there to do? Those lovely sentiments in swooping words may not help during those moments of Feeling, so what then? All I know is that I tell myself that this Feeling isn't permanent. Maybe I even acknowledge that I feel bad and am thinking this way. That the voice inside my mind is telling me these things. That can really mess with it.
M: Ok, sure. You are saying I'm fat.
M: I hear you. You're saying I'm fight. It's hard for me to disagree with you right now, but I'm still not going to do anything about it that you want me to.
V: No, but... wait....
Or maybe I try to figure out what else is going on in my world. Why is this voice chiming up now? There could be some trigger or something in my life. What is it?
But it is hard. Shit, it is hard. Especially after fighting and succeeding. I hate it. I hate how it makes me feel. I hate how it gets in my mind. I hate how it chiggers its way into my thoughts so that I can barely move without thinking about my thighs or my ass or whatever it is. It is here. This Feeling is real.
But it is not permanent. I will not feel this way for the rest of my life.
I will breathe I will write I will paint I will acknowledge that I was born with a huge capacity to feel so much that sometimes it feels like too much. I will curl up and cover my head to protect myself from the barrage of fire and wait it out until there's a moment of respite. And then I will see what I can do. Because it isn't about never getting knocked down. It isn't about always getting up immediately. Sometimes, I think it's finding what works for you, and then just holding the fuck on.