There is such a major disconnect between some of the things people who suffer from eating disorders think and reality. That's not a surprise to anyone, but periodically someone says something that reminds me how big the discrepancy can be.
Every time I hear someone say he/she doesn't think she's worthy of taking up space I'm jarred. Even though I should be used to it by now. Even though I know from experience that this is what people who have EDs believe.
It just couldn't be further from the truth.
I'll be sitting in my office, having an interesting conversation with someone, and I'm thinking, "geez, what a terrific person this is, and how lucky I am to know her and get to listen to her and help her with her work."
And then suddenly, she says how she thinks she's being selfish by talking, or that she's taking up to much of my time or too much space in the room or in the world. And I'm jarred back into her reality- that she simply doesn't get that she's valuable. And I remind myself again what makes sense to her and how she sees herself in the world. And I'm saddened because I can't just make her see reality, can't just wave a magic wand and get her to understand that she is valuable, that far from wasting my time she's adding to the quality of my life by letting me know her and be connected to her.
The process of helping her see this reality (replacing those old, erroneous beliefs of hers with accurate ones) is a major project in recovery. It is a thread that runs throughout the entire treatment/recovery journey, and its importance cannot be overstated. Recovery is dependent upon her being able to learn to believe the truth- that she is valuable, and that she has every bit as much right to space in the world and in relationships as anyone else does (that last sentence make some of you guys cringe? do i know you or what? don't worry, as with most things, this is a process, and the process of believing you are worthwhile in and to the world gets easier with practice. i promise).