It’s not a total coincidence that I started writing about my history and transition away from binge eating during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I’d been sitting on the idea for a while, and reading others’ stories this week finally got the writing ball rolling.
I’m no expert on eating disorders or recovery, but I am an expert on my own life. When I reflect on everything I’ve been through with food and body image, I can see that one thing that kept me suffering for so many years was a lack of awareness—in people close to me and in society, but also in myself. I wasn’t conscious of my motives or feelings beyond just feeling “bad.”
Lack of self-awareness meant lots of looking outside of myself for direction. I followed scripts and protocols that credible-enough experts said worked for them, but I never considered whether those things worked for me. And when I “failed” at a program (or just hated it) I assumed that I was the problem.
I probably attempted recovery dozens of times. I’m still trying to sort out why this last time was different. How exactly did I end my binge-eating for good? Why am I so confident that I will never binge again? My hope is that writing about the steps I took will shine some light on the recovery process, but I suspect that my newfound freedom has a lot to do with self-awareness. Becoming better acquainted with my personality and my desires opened the door to treating myself with more compassion.
It’s difficult to love and care deeply about someone you don’t know very well. I thought I didn’t like myself because I wasn’t likable. The truth is that I didn’t like myself because I didn’t know myself.