When recovering from an eating disorder you have to be brave every day.
oo many people think bravery simply means doing something and not being afraid of it. That to be brave is to be bold and fearless. That a brave person is someone who continually holds faith in their capacity to successfully manage any situation, regardless of how dangerous it may be. However, that is not bravery – that is either being drunk and/or knowing that you are immortal.
Bravery also often has connotations of victory and success: accompanied by triumphant music, the hero’s head is held high while they charge into battle, roaring about their homeland. But bravery in real life is quite different. The type of bravery that is required when recovering from an eating disorder isn’t so noble or cinematic.
When recovering from an eating disorder you have to be brave every day. You aren’t really given a choice. If you want to recover and be free from it you have to constantly confront uncertainty, intimidation, terror, and pain. You are required to always be a knight, wobble around in rusty ill-fitting armour, and face off a giant wrinkly dragon (or a giant spider, if you like dragons and don’t want to envisage hurting one) who just won’t leave you alone.
Being brave is personally different for everyone. Especially when it comes to eating disorders. Please bear in mind that certain situations and tasks which may seem trivial, forgettable, and even enjoyable to some, may seem to others a like a dragon who has just stepped on a piece of Lego.
Being brave, or having “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty” when trying to recover is exhausting. It means confronting your fears, and so even if you make a mess of it all, you’re still brave if you’ve ploughed through and given it the very best shot that you felt capable of at the time. Every conscious choice to attempt to move towards recovery is an example of bravery.
So remember: When you are let go of the ideas that are both your safety net and trap, when you accept the crippling yet liberating truths about yourself, when you give up the dangerous behaviour and rules that are comforting and feel like all you’ll ever know, when you say ‘no’ to the ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ to the ‘no,’ that is you being super-duper incredibly brave. You would put a dragon-fighting knight to shame.