Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The big trigger warning

If I haven't said it enough, here it goes again: recovery isn't easy. It's hard and it gets harder. No one is ever ready to recover but we do it anyways because we have to. There is only two choices in living with an eating disorder: recover or die.
The thing is, the very society we live in has an eating disorder and exercise addiction. We glamorize the 1200 calorie diets, the rigorous workout routines, overemphasize the low-fat, low-carb, totally healthy and underemphasize rest and wellness. Starvation diets are becoming lifestyles. Skipping out on gym sessions is shamed. We live in a very toxic environment and yes, it can be very triggering. 

When is the last time your friend told you that she just spent two hours on the treadmill? Or pick at a salad while complaining about her size 0 waist? Or proudly announce that she just literally hasn't eaten anything today at all (emphasis on the literally of course)? Or that girl on instagram who maintains a barely healthy BMI and eats bird-like portions despite being in recovery for years and still complains about being fat? You were triggered. You compared yourself to her. Your disordered voice yelled at your for being this big fat pig for stuffing your face and sitting on the couch all day getting fatter while your friend over there is dieting.

And you wanted to restrict again.

You planned to restrict again.

No. Stop.

Let me tell you right here that absolutely nothing in the world has the power to make you restrict. Nothing in the world has the power to trigger you. Everything that happens, from the light switch flickering on to your best friend dumping her lunch away is outside stimuli and what we feel and do is simply our respond to the outside stimuli.

Yes, you can (and should) do all to avoid situations poisonous to your recovery. Unfollow those triggering instagram accounts. Let your friends know that what they are doing and saying is healthy for you. Unsubscribe to certain magazines and newsletters. But at the same time we all know that we don't live in a bubble and we cannot avoid every single trigger out there. That's why the ultimate trigger prevention is up to us.

Your dieting friend cannot tie you put in a chair and clamp down your mouth. Your gym-going sister can't abduct you and force you onto a treadmill. Those restrictive actions are all your own responses to their outside stimuli and as difficult as it is, in recovery you absolutely must understand that YOU are the one who is in charge of your own action. Your mother can't make you do anything. Your doctor can't make you do anything. Your eating disorder can't make you do anything. You are strong, powerful, and capable.

You have the power to not react negatively to triggering situations.