I can imagine it is hard to see, perhaps feels impossible, but the moment you chose to enter treatment (even if highly persuaded by treatment teams, family, friends, etc.), you have given yourself a foundation. A foundation that can be a catalyst in a big way, a little way, or not. I want you all to know ANY of those options are valid and not wrong. Whether or not you know it, you will learn something. Maybe you will learn that you aren’t ready, that maybe you are but you need more time, that maybe this is the time or maybe a combo of all.
My wish for each of you is that you feel the rest you have been unable to find elsewhere. It is exhausting work. It is a fatigue that so few people understand (or maybe far too many). It is a fatigue that seems to not make sense because of the comparison to all you were doing in your eating disorder. But it is real, it is valid, and it is horrible at times. I hope you feel that you can rest and be taken care of. Please try to soak it in.
Despite staff potentially disliking me for saying this, I hope you feel anger. I hope you express anger. I hope you find it. There is power in anger. It will not create evil within you or consume you if you honor it. It is the feelings we ignore that stay with us. It is the power that we give them when we say they will overtake us. It isn’t true. Nothing, no one, and no experience will overtake you. I am sure you will be changed by many experiences, people, and lessons. I don’t want to minimize the pain that can feel like a searing spear mixed with the need for a scream or a wail that echoes throughout the world. But they will not overtake you. You are innately supposed to live. You are protected biologically to keep going and keep learning.
It is the feelings we ignore that stay with us. It is the power that we give them when we say they will overtake us.
I may never meet you. Actually, I probably won’t meet most of you despite my desire to meet every single one of you and hold your truth with you. But I want you to know I see you. I see you in my heart, my mind, and my soul. I have not walked your path, I have not cried with you, I have not laughed with you, and I have not eaten with you. But I am here rooting for you. As one of my favorite warrior protagonists Buffy the Vampire Slayer says, “Be Brave. Live.”
“Your numbness isn’t feeling nothing, it’s feeling everything, and never having learned to process anything at all. Numbness is not nothing, neutral is nothing. Numbness is everything at once.”
Your eating disorder and everything else you possibly use to numb isn’t working. You know this no matter how much it is terrifying to admit. “Be Brave. Live.” You can build a recovered life. I promise with my whole heart.
Sending strength and love…
Catherine Lamme, Primary Therapist at Montecatini Eating Disorder Treatment Center