We're humans - we enjoy being in our comfort zones. We tend to like it when our lives are tidy and our worries are minimal. We work to feel good about our decisions and like to follow a good, straightforward path for ourselves. ED recovery has nothing in common with those things. If I could describe my personal experience with recovery I would say it was messy and uncomfortable. The emotions on the road to a healthy body and mind were hard to cope with at times. At times I didn't even want to recover. How confusing is that?!
I remember sitting in counseling one day with my eating disorder specialist and emphasizing how torn I was feeling. The everyday person would have looked at me and said, "How are you torn? Don't you want to get better and not look like this and be miserable anymore?" Of course, I wanted to get better, but I also wanted to stay in my comfort zone. My comfort zone had quickly become my eating disorder. Getting better and getting healthy meant giving up all of the control I had worked hard for. It meant the number on the scale would start going up instead of down. It meant letting go of this little world I had created for myself. I was familiar and comfortable with planning out every meal, with researching restaurant menus for hours, with ensuring I had a calorie deficit day in and day out.
The amazing thing was, my counselor looked at me with all the understanding in the world (shoutout Brittany). She acknowledged the difficulties of being pulled in two opposite directions, and how confusing that can be.
I have come to realize, that is one of the hardest parts of escaping an eating disorder: getting where you want to be, means doing exactly what you are terrified of.
I had to eat. The last thing I wanted to do was eat.
And believe me, I did not start eating full meals 3x a day overnight. But eventually, I decided I wasn't going to be torn anymore. I wanted to get better and healthy. I did NOT want to live with my eating disorder. I had come to realize my comfort zone could be a whole hell of a lot more comfortable. Hint: that comfort didn't involve a nonstop, control-obsessed voice that only allowed me to think about food.
That new comfort zone deserved freedom.