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Feeling the Fear – and Getting Better

Posted Aug 05 2009 12:00am

Sometimes, getting better is far scarier than staying ill.

Sometimes, the apprehension and the expectation and the uncertainty can stop you from changing your life. We’re far more comfortable with what we know –

It will be okay.

It might feel scary, but you’ll be okay.

There are no certainties – but it will not be as bad as you expect.

It just takes a little courage and a few deep breaths; and, when you’ve got through the first challenges, you’ll be looking back and wondering what took you so long –

At first, I thought that I would die if I changed the routine. It sounds a little over-dramatic but when you’ve ordered and controlled every minute of your day for so long, any deviation from the norm cou ld be fatal.

It isn’t. It feels totally alien – for a while – but it won’t kill you.

For a long time, I thought that I’d be nothing without an eating disorder. That I’d lose my purpose and my identity and any points of personal reference if I got better. That being the person with an eating disorder was preferable to being nobody.

This is a lie. An eating disorder is not an identity ; it is an illness. It tells everyone the same message.

I tried to predict the consequences. To make sure that I was in control of the outcomes – but the barriers felt more tangible than any future benefits; the losses, more painful than the gains would be positive.

You can’t see into the future. You’ve just got to recognise that you’re not losing anything you’d want to keep.

Every time I tried to change, I’d give in, right at the last minute, because one change would start an avalanche – or so I thought. If I stopped bingeing for just one day, then I would never be able to return to it, and after the first kilo, the weight gain would go on and on and on –

All or nothing will keep you stuck. You can take it at your own pace.

I made excuses – “it’s not the right time” – when the fear got the better of me, even if I couldn’t name what I was so scared of. I’d put it off until tomorrow – or a Monday – or the start of the next month – or the beginning of a new year –

The fear wins when you give it more time –

But it will be alright.

It will probably feel scary, but you will be okay.

There are no certainties – but it was not as bad as I expected.

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