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July 13, 2009

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Laura

This is in response to your previous post...

I don't know if I've completely surrendered or anything, but I'm doing better now than I ever have been - and it feels different (in a good way) this time.

For me, I had gotten to a point where I wasn't "successful" at restricting whenever I wanted to restrict. I'd cmmand myself to skip dinner, and I didn't want to skip dinner. IT used to be that I'd want to! I stopped wanting to skip dinner. It was more that I wanted to want to skip dinner, but, actually, I truly wanted to eat. Does that make sense? I used to just command myself to restrict and I could. This became less and less the case. I also had much less urges to binge and excessive compensation after a binge suddenly wasn't my first reaction. While I get that this is "healthier," I didn't want to lose my ability to restrict. Yet, I was trying so hard to hold on to restriction (bingeing and compensating are free to go, those are no fun. But i wanted to keep the restriction part). I was gripping on to restriction. I was, in a way, trying to become more eating-disordered to prove that I could still restrict if I wanted to. I wanted to be able to go back to when I was "always good at restricting." (Probably why I had a big back slide before I suddenly started doing better than ever).

AT some point, maintaining and ED life became too hard. At some point, I stopped feeling "successful" at the ED. At some point, I stopped seeing the ED as having any purpose. At some point, I realized I hate my body no matter how low I get my weight. So what is the freaking point in going to all these lengths to control my weight? At the same time, I got an injury that forced me to stop running (took care of the exercise obsession haha). And, basically, I just got tired of "waiting to be good enough to participate in life." I realized I was spending so much physical and mental energy on maintaining an ED and it wasn't getting me anything good.

Something switched.

It used to be that I WANTED to do the ED thing. Then it became I felt obliged to do the ED thing and I no longer actually wanted it. What I really wanted was real life. So, I "gave in."

I didn't really see it as surrendering. I just gave up. Maybe my "giving up" is like "surrendering." It was like, "I can't do eating disorder anymore. I give up." After having that "give up" feeling, I've been on a much better path than ever before. I've been enjoying life more. I've been more present in life. And My eating has been healthier than ever. There's less resistance to normal eating, less anxiety before eating, less guilt after eating. And it all happened with this moment where I felt like I threw my hands in the air and said, "Fine. I give up." And, giving up has brought me back into life - more so than ever before.

Laura

So, surrendering, or, giving up is responding to something else.

You say that surrendering might be not responding to the ED voice. I think that's true. I think in order to make surrender possible, you have to have another voice. Something I didn't mention in the above post was that I suddenly (through an exercise in therapy actually) got a good vision of what I could be like and what life could be like without ED behaviors. I realized what was included in that better life that was already included in my current life. I realized what was included in that better life but just to a less extreme degree than in my current life. And I realized what wasn't included at all. Having this vision made it much less scary to aim to become that other, more developed person. It made me excited to aim to be that developed person. So I started saying yes to the "developed person" voice which means that I had to say "no" to the ED voice.

Laura

It also became easier to surrender to the "developed person" voice when I realized that the "developed person" isn't fat and still exercises (just a little more reasonably). It was hard to give up restriction because I didn't want to get fat. I realized that the developed person doesn't restrict but also doesn't get fat. Her attention is on more important parts of life, on activities she values, on things she likes doing.. she is reasonable with herself and rational and calm with herself. She is inspirational to others in her energy and spirit. AND SHE IS NOT FAT. That was a realization that made me WANT to give up the ED and surrender to the Developed person. I realized that the the Devleoped person gets all the benefits that and ED life gets you, plus tons more! So if you had to chose between ED and developed person, only a weirdo would choose ED. There's nothing to lose with choosing developed person.

I'm sure I wouldn't have just jumped into the arms of the imagined developed person even 6 months ago. So timing plays a part in all of this too...

Laura

Okay - last comment - seriously - sorry!

I just want to emphasize the timing part of all of this. I just re-read my comments and I realize it sounds like I'm saying "oh, I realized life is better with out the ED, I didn't want to have an ED, so I just decided not to have one." That's kind of how it feels. However, I know there's something more than that - because I know that at other times in my life I've wanted more than anything to not be caught in my head with ED thoughts. I've wanted more than anything to not be stuck in an ED routine.... and yet, I failed (time after time) at breaking free from the ED.

So it feels simple. It feels like I just gave up and it worked. And that is kind of what happened ---- 7 years after I first started restricting. But I also know that I have wanted to just "let go" so many other times to no avail. So why is this time different? I don't know. I think this time is different because I finally stopped believing that the ED behaviors work. Before it was always like "just let me restrict a little more and then I can..." or "let me just lose a little more and then..." or "I know restricting will lead to bingeing but maybe this time it won't...." And, finally it was like I had been proven wrong one too many times and I gave up. It was like "yes, restricting will lead to bingeing. I'm tired of being shown this over and over." or "no, if I lose more I'll still hate my body so much and it'll still be all I think about." I think it has to do with beginning to believe that the ED is not effective - I lost all hope that the ED would be effective. Other times, I still held a little hope that the ED would do me good. This time, all hope left.

So maybe it's that - maybe "giving up" or "surrendering" has to correlate with:
1) The belief that ED behaviors will not get you what you want
2) The presence of another voice to say yes to.

Even still, I wonder why at other times in my life I couldn't have stopped the ED behaviors if my life depended on it. Maybe it was because during those times I still held the belief that life would only be good if I had successfully done all ED behaviors of the day? I don't know.

Now I'm really rambling. I'm really done posting now. Promise.

Also, this "good streak" has been going for about 3 weeks now. Who knows if I'll still have "given up" and "surrendered" next week (hopefully, though!)

Stephanie

I've actually thought a lot about the concept of a person's soul recently, and I feel like I believe that a person's soul is the emotional part of a person and is shaped by a person's experiences, memories (good and bad), and biological makeup. However, even though I believe that these three things are strong determining factors in shaping a person's soul, I think each person has a choice to respond/react to their experiences, memories, and even their biological makeup in their own way so I don't think that any two people's souls are the same. I think someone's soul really determines the kinds of relationships they can maintain...I think everyone has a soul (don't agree with people who say that some people are "soul-less") but, from my experience, everyone is tapped into their soul to different degrees and different ways, but I believe everyone has a soul. As far as the soul relating to an eating disorder, I feel like when I was in the depths of my eating disorder, I lost sight of my own soul (I was not tapped into it) and it was almost like my eating disorder had it's own soul. I can't believe all the things I did when I was in that eating disordered mindset that Stephanie's conscience would've never allowed or at least would've fought harder against, if you will. It just seemed like there were two entities with two separate souls...however, I will say that my eating disordered soul has definitely impacted my true soul. I am by no means an innocent person, but I would like to believe that I (Stephanie without an eating disorder) would not lie and steal and do most that stuff I did when I was desperate to protect my eating disorder. I know I did a lot of awful things and I am by no means trying to escape responsibility for these things, as I know I'm still the one who decided to lie, steal and whatnot, but I really don't think that if I was not so enraptured in my eating disorder (or an addiction) that I would've done those things...or, at least, I'd like to hope so. I felt that when I was really engaging in my eating disorder, I lost sight of or ignored my soul/conscience and there are still times where I feel like it takes a lot of effort to remind myself to think about my soul and what my true principles are, but for the most part I feel like I am way more emotional and empathetic and that helps me a lot with relationships and with making better decisions than I did even a year or two ago (OK, I don't always make the best decisions, but I try). I like a lot of my recovery has been figuring out what my morals are and that has allowed me to learn more about my soul and realize somewhat what it's about.

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