Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hope an Essential Part of Recovery

HOPE. What part does it play in the process of recovery from an eating disorder?
For myself, I believe 'hope' was THE critical piece that I didn't have during my numerous 'failed' attempts at recovery. I am now able to see the picture clearly, and I know that for a number of reasons, I felt no hope, nor was I offered any hope for recovery, UNTIL going into my final, successful treatment. Recovery is a complex, defeating process, so hope is an essential ingredient, I believe, for anyone to find the strength to keep moving forward. At times, 'giving up' seems almost easier. Recovery requires some trust in the process. And for me, in order to trust the process, I truly needed a steady supply of hope, which was offered to me in various ways by the professionals who were treating me.
In time, I began to believe more in myself, which gave growth to more hope, and trust in myself as well as the process.
One very valuable form of hope that was offered to me was knowing that others believed that I could recover. I had never, during the entire previous 30 years of my illness, been told that recovery was possible, let alone that I could recover.
Hope for me involved the idea that I could actually escape from the personal prison of anorexia that I had known as my life for so many years. The potential for freedom generated feelings akin to euphoria, an energy that helped me to persevere through the very daunting process of recovery. For me the process involved some major grief work, a divorce (which held many negative meanings in my mind), complete relocation and sudden independence (which were both terrifying and liberating), and the continuing process of establishing a mature, healthy relationship with my adult son.
For everyone, recovery involves a myriad of issues that much be dealt with. The great thing is, once your physical health has been resolved, those issues are not nearly as daunting and terrifying as they seemed previously.
Hope can inspire, motivate and offer incentive to ask for help. The isolation that many times accompanies an eating disorder may stem from a lack of hope and the resolve that there is no point in trying.
Hope can often be about telling the truth, and ending the lies about the eating disorder.
In any illness, hope can be an essential element. Hope can improve the prognosis in a life threatening illness, while also greatly improving a person's quality of life.
If you think about your daily life, what motivates you? What 'feeds' your passions?
If the vision before you is dark and seemingly impossible, how much energy are you going to have to face tomorrow?
At some point, I believe we can be our own resource for hope. This can include choosing the people in our lives so that we are surrounded by encouragement that goes both ways. We give, and we receive. It's a simple, yet powerful dynamic.
Our words hold more power than we realize. The words we use to describe ourselves may actually be influential in how we live our lives and how we feel.
I practice a few simple methods on a daily basis that help me continue to build up my hope and to keep a positive attitude.
  • I look for hope in every situation. It's like looking at the glass 'half-full'.
  • I have developed a large social support system. I am involved with community groups and activities that have allowed me to form relationships with some very positive people.
  • I remember that I am a survivor.
  • I practice gratitude, and I make an effort to make sure that the people in my life know that they are important to me.
  • Breathe. Inhale the hope. Exhale the despair. INSPIRATION!!

Without apology....

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