Who Am I Without My Eating Disorder?
As you begin taking care of yourself and letting go of the behaviors that your eating disorder dictates, you may find yourself wondering who you are. You may suddenly realize that you don’t know yourself very well. You might even feel pretty lost and lonely. Many people say that because they have identified themselves with their eating disorder for so long, when they begin to let go of their food and weight obsessions, they feel as if they are losing themselves. It’s a pretty frightening and disorienting feeling. But if you look beyond feeling lost and search through your fear, you’ll find that this time in recovery is actually brimming with opportunity. It’s the perfect time to discover who you really are. It’s the perfect opportunity to find and reclaim pieces of yourself that were lost, buried, or stolen…It is even the perfect time to recreate yourself!
Start by making the commitment to get to know yourself and who you are without active eating disorder. Get to know yourself as you would a dear friend. Do you remember the very first time you met someone who later turned out to be one of your good friends? You really didn’t know very much about that person at first, did you? But as you spent time together, you began to learn important details about your friend and his/her life. Over time you discovered what makes your friend laugh and cry. You figured out all of the little things that make her feel angry and irritable and you probably know all sorts of ways to make her feel playful and silly, too. Even though you’ve known each other for a while now, you still discover new things about each other all the time. In the course of going for a walk or shopping together a new piece of information reveals itself to you. That is exactly how relationships develop. All relationships require time and nurturing to develop, and the relationship you have with yourself is no exception.
Make the commitment to spend time with yourself so you can learn about your likes and dislikes. Take time to discover what warms your heart, pay attention to what brings tears to your eyes and what makes you laugh. Look for the things that make you feel like dancing! Figure out what stirs fury deep within you. Acknowledge all your little flaws and imperfections and embrace them with loving acceptance. Identify and celebrate each of your strengths and successes. In doing all of these things that you will come to know exactly who you are.
Maybe you feel unsure of where or how to begin your quest of getting to know yourself. Below are some suggestions that will help you learn a little more about who you are. You may have done some of these things many times before, but chances are if you did them in the midst of an active eating disorder, the activities were colored by your disorder, which prevented you from fully experiencing them. Sometimes the voice of the eating disorder is so loud and keeps us so preoccupied that we miss some of the little, but most beautiful moments in life. Choose to do all of the activities below or choose to do only a few. Expand the individual items on the list or expand the list itself. Do this at your own pace and take as much time as you need. If you have not been out for a while you may find some of the suggested activities frighten you. Be gentle with yourself and take your time. However you choose to do it is up to you… enjoy your journey!
Activities Just for You
Let go and have fun…
You will have to try things, test the waters, and discover which things you like and which things you do not like. If you find things that you do not like, that is okay too, it’s just more information about yourself. Doing things that you find you do not like is not a waste of time, rather it is an experience that provides you with valuable pieces of information about who you are…it is part of the process of getting to know yourself better. Recovery is but an opportunity to recreate yourself! Have fun with it!