From Fear to Acceptance: Befriending EDJuly 8, 2016
The following blog was written by Sarit Rogers as part of YBIC’s monthly column that highlights how the practice of yoga can be an integral component in the effective treatment of and on-going recovery from eating disorders and disordered eating.
“Step on the scale,” the nurse barked. “No, I’ll pass.” “Give me a verbal,” she barked. My stomach dropped, my heart beat increased; She never made eye contact.
I froze, unsure of myself, despite intellectually knowing what I needed. I told the nurse I was in recovery from an eating disorder. She said “You don’t have to talk about it anymore.” I kept babbling for another minute, saying, “I know, I’m the fattest anorexic you know” – my negative self talk breaking through the fourth wall. Even though her tone and methods of taking vitals was harsher than I would have liked, I realized that this wasn’t about her. This was ED (eating disorder) rearing his head.
I paused and took a deep breath. In fact, I took several. I put my hand on my heart; I found my feet again, nestled in my Vans. I looked around the room and then I took stock in myself, listing my positive attributes silently to myself. I’m so much more than the summation of my vitals.
The reality is this: I am a: mother of a teenage badass, wife and best friend to a beautiful man, surrounded by amazing and inspiring women who love me all the damn time. I’m an artist, a teacher, a writer, a creative soul. The truth is, the size of my pants means nothing in the grand scheme of things. No one really cares except for me, and most days, I just care if I’m comfortable. It took me years to get here.
Recently, on a silent women’s retreat, I found myself triggered by ED. Because of the safe emotional container I was in, I was able to investigate the internal story from a neutral, non-reactive point of view. Lying down on ground in Joshua Tree, sky above me, earth below me, I was able to hold myself in deep compassion. I was able to see where this shame and need to justify eating was coming from. It came from poverty; it came from not having; it came from not knowing; it came from fear. Instead of the lovingkindness phrases, the following phrases came to mind with absolute clarity. I repeated them for two days. I repeat them now whenever I find myself filled with shame, fear, and the need to justify myself.
Nothing to fear; Nothing to Justify; No one to be.
When I opened my eyes, feeling the sun on my face, the air against my skin, the earth still below me, holding me in her grace, there was a hawk circling above me; As I felt the enormity of my emotional release, the hawk provided a visual representation of my release from ED. I was able to approach my difficulties with friendliness and compassion. ED is me, the young, wounded me. ED needs compassion, not the old, “Fuck off, ED, I don’t need you” chatter.
All of this has come together in a multifaceted prism of healing: art meets therapy, meets art, meets growth. I have taken my power back. I can now say, “Hey, ED, I see you. I love you. I forgive you. I have Nothing to Prove. Nothing to Fear. Nothing to Justify. You, my friend, are the small part of me that was ashamed and hurt. You, my friend, need love, and compassion, and care. You, my friend, are no longer my enemy.”
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