Anyone who wears them probably remembers when they put on their first pair of prescription glasses. On the car ride home, they may have stared in wonder out the window, noticing for the very first time the crips clear lines of each tiny leaf. With a new set of eyes, you can suddenly become more present and mindful of the world around you.
Recovering from an eating disorder is not unlike this experience. You can walk around your entire life with blurry vision without ever realizing the details all around that you are missing. It’s possible to go through life unaware of the beauty all around you.
A metaphor for recovery
Eating disorders blur your thoughts and prevent you from seeing clearly. They distort the reflection of your body along with your own worth as a human being. Until you enter recovery, true recovery, you may spend your life unaware of your distorted vision. Naive to how much brighter, clearer, vivid, and more beautiful your world actually is, recovery “glasses” can be overwhelming. Just like the person with impaired vision, the person with an eating disorder has no concept of a life without the disease.
And just like vision, where everyone has a unique prescription, the journey through recovery from an eating disorder is unique for each person. For some yoga, in-patient treatment, and groups may be the key to health. For others, books, therapy, or listening to some podcasts may help a shift in vision. Others may find changing jobs, journaling, and letting go of past relationships to be their prescription.
It doesn’t matter what exact path your friend with an eating disorder took. Trying to do recovery like someone else to heal yourself is like trying to wear some one else’s glasses to read. It just doesn’t work.
When you take off the glasses…
Recovery is also similar in that it is easy to remove your prescription glasses. But when you do, you may instantly feel uneasy. This time, your surrounding may seem even harder to see. This is not unlike a relapse, when we instantly feel we have slipped into a world of distortions and nothing is clear.
Unfortunately sometimes we don’t like wearing glasses. They can feel uncomfortable and make us self conscious of how we appear to others. However, if you wear them long enough, eventually you don’t even notice they are on your face.
Soon you are too busy living in a world you can finally see clearly to really care how they look. Your glasses become a part of you. And once you have worn glasses for long enough, you don’t want to live a life without clear vision. You now have the choice to stumble around in the blur or to put your glasses back on again and see clearly.