Monday, July 2, 2012

Preach on, Kelly Clarkson

A friend of a friend of mine recently made the very difficult decision to go to rehab for help with a problem he's been having.  Though all of my eating disorder treatment was outpatient, I know how hard this decision is to make and I admire and applaud him for his strength.  Talking to my friend about it has caused me to reflect on my own treatment experience and how true the old adage, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," really is AND how helpful that phrase can be when you really USE it to help you get through a challenge, be that a fitness one or life in general.

See?  There's always a bright side.
Though it sucked, my experience with my ED is probably one of the best experiences I've ever been through.  Yes, I said that an illness that was causing me to make myself throw up 6 times a day, go to the gym for 4 hours at a time, and skip friends birthday parties because I was "afraid" I'd have to eat is one of the BEST experiences I've gone through.  I learned more about myself from it than any other single event I've gone through in life, and it has made me into the relatively self aware person that I am today.  I mean, hell, my boyfriend told me (with a straight face) this weekend that one of his favorite things about me is how rational I am.  I know that this is largely because of how all of my treatment throughout the ED taught me how to think.

When you're going through something that is so overwhelming you want to crawl into bed for a week, it's very easy to do just that.  What isn't easy is looking at the situation and going, "Wow.  This is HARD.  How do I get through this hardness?"  Sure, you can stay focused on the crappy events at hand and wallow in your misery, but what does that accomplish?  The most valuable thing that my treatment ever taught me, the thing that literally defines the aforementioned cliche is to look at a shitty situation and ask, "What can I learn from this?"

If I related every lesson that the ED taught me I'd be here for a week, but asking that question may be what saved my life.  It allowed me both to acknowledge all the bad feelings I was having (something that the ED never did since instead of feeling the feelings I would just stuff myself full of food and throw it up instead) AND forced me to say to myself, "Ok self, you're going through this and it sucks, but what can you learn from it to make it slightly more bearable?"  That latter option is what really made me turn the corner in recovery.
Sing it, sister.

Whether you're dealing with a workout slump or a boyfriend who cheated on you, finding the silver lining will make it that much easier to get through the rain.  Haven't been to the gym in a month?  Maybe your brain is trying to tell you you're bored with your routine and need to shake it up.  Boyfriend slept with some floozy?  That gut feeling you've been ignoring about him is probably right and in the future you should trust yourself more.  See what I mean?  Suddenly the situation isn't so overwhelming and is downright interesting!

Ok, so it may take some time to get to feeling THAT positive about hard situations, but I promise, much like your muscles, if you continue to train your brain to think this way it will become stronger & more fit just like your body does after regular time in the gym.  Give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. My sis and best friend had EDs at the exact same time when I was in college. As a sister/friend I felt so helpless. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I know it takes a lot of courage to do that!