We all know the intense fear of change and the uncertainty of new situations and routines. When I suffered with an eating disorder, I was immobilized by my fears of taking risks or making changes, even though I was told I would 'feel' better. The uncertainty of life without an eating disorder, seemed worse to me than the perceived safety of the eating disorder.
Even though the eating disorder, and the affects it had on my life frightened me, the idea of changing, and the uncertainty associated with that, prevented me from taking risks to recover for many years.
The changes necessary for recovery will not get any easier by waiting. In fact, they are likely to become more frightening, as the obsessions of the eating disorder grow stronger (and they will). I can now see that my life became more and more 'narrow', the longer I was ill, and the sense of safety seemed stronger.
Becoming less afraid of change required me to walk right into it, to trust that it could not be any worse than my present situation, or what I perceived to be safe. I had gotten to the point where I knew I would die if I continued in the pattern I was caught in.
Very much like 'exposure therapy', the more I risked doing the things that scared me the most, the more safe I felt about change. I realized that change was my only way out, and as time went on, I found that those changes were actually freeing me!
This process is unique for every person recovering from an eating disorder, but I think the fact that doing what you are most afraid of, i.e. eating, not bingeing or purging, not exercising to extreme, or whatever happens to maintain the eating disorder for YOU, is the key to true recovery.
As I began my final treatment (and recovery!) at River Centre, I was certainly more afraid of NOT changing. The eating disorder had already taken more than 35 years of my life. Regardless of the fear I felt, I was ultimately more afraid that I would not change.
Where are YOU in this process?