The Strength to Move On

In the last 24 hours, I’d written three different blog posts. I then proceeded to trash each one because they felt half-assed and insincere.

While Lovely as Charged is intended to inspire positivity and self-confidence, sometimes, there are certain topics that are neither lovely nor positive, yet still demand attention. When those topics are the real issues that you are dealing with, a fluffy, banter-filled post about oatmeal or Oscar de la Renta jackets doesn’t exactly feel authentic.

Between the stress of moving, the fear of losing the people I care about and the pressure to be the perfect new employee, my brain has been in panic mode. I certainly haven’t been the most pleasant person to be around. Even worse, I’ve been internalizing the stress rather than simply facing it.

When I developed my eating disorder in the fall of 2006, it wasn’t as much a means of control as it was a coping mechanism for being afraid. I had just started college and was terrified of the major changes that lay ahead, as well as the things that I was going to have to leave behind. Furthermore, I didn’t feel that I could talk about it without seeming “immature” or “dramatic”. Fear and weakness are so closely associated that I felt the need to be strong in some area – albeit the wrong one – just to balance everything out.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been confronting a lot of disordered eating urges. I haven’t been happy with the woman I see in the mirror, and my natural impulse has been to counteract life’s stressors by binging or skipping meals.

I’ve said before that I am at a much better place in my life than I was a year ago, and now more than ever, it’s become evident how true this really is. While I’ve felt incredibly compelled to resort to unhealthy habits out of familiarity, I refuse to mistreat my body simply because I’m trying to ice over other emotions. I’ve fought too long and too hard to recognize that I deserve better, and while my brain may still send me the “skip dinner” urge, I know that these disordered habits are a slippery slope from which nothing good can come.

Although a binge may be temporarily soothing, it’s certain to lead back into a pattern of habits that caused far more misery than simply dealing with the triggers. In the end, life is going to move on, and in a few years, I’ll be in a drastically different place where the things I’m going through now won’t even register in my memory. While being hurt will pass, being sucked back into a cycle of self-loathing and destructive patterns can continue wrecking a life for years.

Part of truly living is allowing yourself to truly feel your emotions. This is as equally true when you feel confident, driven and secure as when you are sad, hurt, or upset. No skipped meal or box of cookies will make your life magically better, yet life isn’t intended to be smooth. It’s going to be a constant challenge, and you’ve got to find ways to pull yourself through.

Whether or not you feel like you are strong enough to ignore the self-sabotaging urges, you are strong enough to do so, and when the bad days blow over (which they always will), you’ll find that you never needed the coping mechanism to make it through in the first place. Allow yourself to feel, allow yourself to live, allow yourself to cry if necessary…and trust that you’re going to come out stronger, healthier, and happier once the rough patch blows over.


6 Comments on “The Strength to Move On”

  1. Sarah says:

    Faith, I’m so glad you chose to write this post. I’m STILL struggling with binge eating. In fact, I succumbed to the urge to binge just last night. Your words are so much appreciated.

  2. I’m so glad you chose to write this, Faith. The words are so true. I have a tendency to resort to binge eating when I’m stressed, so what you had to say really hit home for me. Thanks for your insight and eloquence!

  3. Kelly says:

    Thanks for being so honest. Hang in there…everyone struggles with something and half the battle is recognizing when those old patterns and ways of thinking surface. My husband calls is stinkin thinkin and it really does stink! 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you are doing okay, and that you had the strength to write this!
    It is so hard to deal with the thoughts that come up from our pasts and it is so easy to fall back into old unhealthy habits.
    It’s really wonderful that you have the insight to understand why you feel the way you do and you are so strong to move past it!
    I have struggled with binge eating in the past and this means a lot for me to read. I think I might come back to your post every time I feel like doing something dangerous in my kitchen 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing this with us – I know it can be hard. Hang in there, and know that you have a lot of people here to support you 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Faith. It’s actually really helpful to hear that other people feel this way sometimes. I’ve been feeling pretty lonely and down on myself lately which results in some of these tendencies cropping back up, and it can be hard to remember that I don’t want to be that person anymore!

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