Having Been There
I get it, right. Everyone has hard parts of their day. I'm lucky. I really enjoy my job. Sure, I don't want to go sometimes; but, I really enjoy what I do. I'm always glad to be in the room. The hard part of my job is having been there.
Some cases hit closer to home than others. While having had an eating disorder, I can relate to parts of what most people bring in, there are those cases that just really stare right back at me like a mirror. I love those cases. It reminds me why I do what I do. It also reminds me how F%$#ing hard it is to battle an eating disorder. The cases where I end up going toe to toe with someone else's eating disorder are rewarding and exhausting. It's most of the time mitigated by the fact that I have multiple people on different parts of the journey at any given point. Those that are further along remind me that there is healing. Having been through it, without seeing others, I would begin to feel like an unlikely anomally.
And then there are those who are a mirror of my past. It's a deep, dark, twisting road of a past. Listening to how desperately they want help, to be told the magic fix, I'm reminded often how hard it is to let go. I remember going to my own therapy appointments and coming home. I was angry that they couldn't fix it. I don't know how my therapists felt back then. I am clearly aware that change isn't about control, willpower, or motivation. It's about the buy-in.
The buy-in is what the eating disorder promises. We are used to hearing if I weigh less I'll be happy. That's the buy-in. For some even it's the idea that if we gain enough weight we can disappear. It's sitting across from someone listening to their stories that they tell themselves and remembering the exact moment that I believed the same things they are telling themselves. It's knowing the pattern they are doing with food is the same pattern I used to do. I'd hold myself to the same punishment. It's knowing that I fought back against my eating disorder. Somehow. Someway. I stood up. It's knowing that they will too. And it may not be with me and it may not be today; but, through the tears in their eyes and the holding back of my own, I know that they can recover.
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