Note: This post originally appeared on Making Friends with ED and has been cross-posted with permission.
There is no way and yet there is only one way.
From the moment my eating disorder started over 20 years ago, I was searching for a way out.
I looked to food. I looked to diet. I went to nutritionists and holistic health practitioners. I went to counselors, psychiatrists and doctors. I starting running. I stopped running. I tried school. I tried painting. I tried workaholism. I tried massage. I tried osteopathy. I tried joining groups. I tried cooking. I tried baking. I tried keeping busy and I tried doing nothing.
It was a perpetual search, lifting each rock, trying to find the one thing that would bring me health, healing, happiness but, most of all, wholeness.
Never did find it in anything in particular.
Eventually, and it was years after treatment, did I stop searching. There was no teacher or method or rule to follow that would fix me. Everyone had their own way of doing things, their own beliefs, their own thoughts, their own rituals and routines.
The problem was, they weren’t mine. When I started letting my teachers go, that’s when real healing began to take place and I stepped into the confidence of my own voice.
Don’t get me wrong. All of my teachers have been invaluable to my own recovery. But, I learned, they could only provide knowledge and guidance. Once they did, it was then up to me to use it in a way that was workable for me. Only me.
And that’s scary as hell. Once I let go of the teachers, I became responsible. I couldn’t fall back on a rule, a routine or some other person if someone opposed me. Letting the teacher lead and me be the leader kept me safe. I was so afraid of being wrong that I was in a perpetual search for teachers to tell me what to do and how to be. Slowly, I began to let them go and let myself be my own teacher.
Today, I still have teachers. But, it’s now more of a camaraderie than a hierarchical relationship of master and submissive. It’s a give and take. The communication is much more dynamic.
Ultimately, I must lead my own way. And that is the only way.