Posts Tagged ‘ED’
August 6th, 2011
Here’s to another Fearless Friday!
Here’s to the fearless thing I did: I threw away my scale.
Here’s what happened: I weighed myself for the first time in a long while. I don’t know why I did it, as I do not prefer to know how much I weigh. I am much better off not having a number to fixate on, and I know this about myself. But I jumped on that scale anyway, and as always, I was nonplussed with what I saw.
So I jumped off, and all but forgot about it.
Until I looked at my calendar a few minutes later.
Upon looking at my calendar, I realized that I was hospitalized with Anorexia Nervosa eleven years ago this week. Eleven years ago, I was on my deathbed. My heart was giving out, my body was exhausted, my thoughts were dysfunctional. I was very ill. Eleven years ago, I was dying. I was dying, in part, because I could not forget about the number on that scale. And the resulting disorder had consumed my entire life.
Upon looking at my calendar, I also realized that National Eating Disorder Awareness week begins in two days. That was also the week that I spent as an institutionalized eating disorder patient eleven years ago.
And finally, while still looking at my calendar, it occurred to me that today is Friday. And Fridays are supposed to be fearless. So I went back upstairs, picked up my scale, and brought it outside to the trashcan. And there it shall stay.
But you know what? Even though I very much consider myself to have beaten Ed (that is my eating disorder’s name from eleven years ago), throwing away my scale was still scary. And it took me quite a while to realize exactly why. After all, it is just a scale right? And I don’t like knowing how much I weigh, anyway, right? So where does the fear come from?
Well, my birdies, I shall tell you. For many years, much of my identity was attached to my eating disorder. It was how I coped. It was a control mechanism. It was a very intimate part of me, and I felt that I needed it. And letting go of the tree branch that it was (remember the tree branch story, below?), has been a long, emotional journey. As I felt that familiar discomfort with throwing away my scale, my eyes were opened to the fact that sometimes we aren’t as far out of the woods as we think we are.
But then, as I walked back inside after throwing that stupid thing in the trash, I felt triumphant. And my eyes were opened again. This time, they were opened to the part of my wings that my heart has been growing for the past eleven year. The part that continues to grow with each and every victory for Ed. The part of my wings that I once resisted, that I was sure I did not need. As I thought about this, I realized that without that healthy part of my wings, I would never learn to fly, because without that part, my wings would not be whole. They would not be strong. And not until I fully let go of that tree branch will I be able to truly fly.
What is it that scares you, my courageous birds? What is it that you are hanging on to? What part of yourself seems too ingrained to let go of? And what purpose does it serve you? Can you imagine a life without that tree branch? Can you visualize the freedom and peace that you might feel if you freed yourself from that burden? Or perhaps, it is not something that you need to let go of, and it is instead something you need to embrace or seek out. If that is the case, what is holding you back from your search? What is frightening about embracing that certain something? Can you visualize how your wings might grow should you finally embark on that journey?
Take a step toward fearlessness tonight, my precious birds. Just one little step. I have a feeling that you know what direction your feet will take you. And I have a feeling that you will triumph. And when you feel that triumph, I just know that you will soar.
Ellie Otteson, MA, CPC
Life and Wellness Coach
The New U Vitality Center