FEBRUARY 1, 2019
We all have feelings of inadequacy and of unworthiness from time to time. It’s when they become all consuming and you become so trapped in the cycle that not only do they become a core self belief but the only way you rationalize escape is to try and disappear, try to make yourself as small as possible that maybe no one will notice how worthless you are.
Maybe they won’t ask about the pain, maybe you won’t have to try and find the words to explain your pain. It’s yours after all, no one else needs to have that burden.
Being human means trying to navigate the unbelievable moments of wonder and joy, and the depths of pain that make it hard to breathe. It’s hard to say why my eating disorder arrived at all, let alone when it did. A series of events had happened that made me question my understanding of the world and my place in it. I no longer believed I deserved to be happy or to feel good, it would just get ripped away after all, right? And so I tried to control what I could and excel in those things I could control. Not only did that include academia, but also what someone who is in control is supposed to look like (believe me, I’m now at a loss as to what that looks like as anyone). Compounding the issue was a diagnosis of endometriosis, which although the “endo diet” is popular among people with endo and I still abide by it, at the time I used it as an excuse to cut out foods to deal with the physical pain and justify why I wasn’t eating certain foods. I needed to control my illness after all.
It was the threat of hospitalization (read “loss of control”) and a possible heart attack, that scared me into thinking that perhaps my current trajectory was not a good idea. Now…you can imagine how well this process went as I tried to control my recovery. I even tried to control my yoga practice. I would wake up at 530am every day and do an hour before work and maybe a class after. If my inner world was tearing me to shreds then perhaps I could still manage some image of togetherness on the outside. Which we all get caught up in. Even though this was before the days of social media really infiltrating out lives, we all have an outer self we present and an inner self that we hide away. But doesn’t that mean we are not allowing ourselves to really be seen and valued for who we are? And I assure you, you are worth the most beautiful love.
As I kept trying to control my recovery, eventually I realized that I needed to truly let go if I was going to get through it. Yoga taught me that. My yoga practice, and my phenomenal teachers along the way, have taught me that the relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you have. How you talk to yourself, how you show up for yourself, how you practice non-judgment on those thought processes that can paralyze you, all have a direct role in how you show up in every other area of life. Once I accepted my story, accepted that I couldn’t do things on my own, truly accepted myself, my life became less about control and more about savouring moments, truly showing up and supporting others, and more about the love that I am capable of bringing into my life. It is now about prioritizing relationships, laughs, time outside and lazy Saturday’s with a good book and a cup of tea. My self worth is no longer defined by a number, my mental energy is no longer focused on whether what I ate was either “too much” or “not safe”. When I was restricting food, I was restricting emotions and in essence restricting life. I am constantly reminded now about how many moments of pure joy and love come from saying yes to uncertainty, listening to your pain and allowing people to see your struggle and write your story with you.
I still get triggered. I still have moments where I question my worth and want to disappear, where I can’t breathe and where I am genuinely amazed and a little confused that I have a partner who accepts all of me and my scars, who will hold me up and breathe with me. I am still processing and learning about myself, but I know this, going through recovery has shown me what I am capable of, what I can handle, and most importantly what I deserve. My eating disorder taught me how to live and how to love. I am enough.