A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

Meal by meal….

on November 14, 2012

I set out to do recovery perfectly…which for me meant to do everything that was asked, do it with a smile on my face, never complain, meet meal plan ‘spot on’ for every meal and snack and never, EVER make any mistakes.  I learned pretty quickly that recovery, like healing, is not a linear process.  The overall trend may be heading in the right direction–but it’s a jagged up and down and down and up process.  This desire to be perfect in recovery wasn’t a new trait…perfectionism was me and I was perfectionism.  Even better (or worse), I didn’t realize that I was a perfectionist.


And so…I quickly learned, especially as emotion returned and my metabolism attempted to even out, there is not perfect to recovery…it’s all about progress.  I have learned it cannot be ‘all or nothing’ thinking…it’s not perfect OR the end of the world…there is this place where it’s okay to be okay….nothing more, nothing less. I call it the ‘middle drawer’…top drawer is 100% beautifully awesome…bottom drawer is horror upon horror….the middle drawer is where I try to live…knowing that some moments will be top drawer–others will be bottom drawer…but most can be middle drawer.  I don’t have to be above and beyond (and smiling through it all) for each and every moment.


I learned to take it meal by meal…snack by snack…in trauma work, some of those meals and snacks have been the most difficult things to do…to actually open my mouth, chew and keep food in…made me pull on every new skill I had.  It made me fight against everything I had known for 22 years of battling an eating disorder.  As flashbacks of the rape resurfaced 2-3 months ago, I was trying to keep my feet under me…I ate meal by meal…snack by snack…and was surprised to learn that I’d strung together 3 days…then 4….then 5…of being ‘spot on’.


The last couple months have had me in the deepest parts of trauma work…and there was so much there that (apparently!) wanted to surface.  Attempting to do a day ‘spot on’…or a few days…or a week…it just wouldn’t have worked.  Breaking it down and doing the ‘next right thing’…thinking about “What do I need right now?”…using my dialectics “I am not hungry AND I know my body needs nutrients.”…relying on the support of my team and friends…I am making progress.  I know how much differently this process would have looked a few months ago…back when I punished myself for perceived mistakes, back when I thought I was worthless and ugly, that I should expect people to treat me indifferently or with contempt…my inner voice has shifted…I may not totally believe the positive affirmations I tell myself…but I am faking it less now than I was…What a process this is…I am healing.



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