Just Because You Can’t Imagine it, Doesn’t Mean it’s Impossible
Tiffany Haug, MS, RDN, EDOC
You know what?
I get it.
I get not being able to fathom what a life without an eating disorder looks like.
Like, what do people expect you to do when life becomes distressing?
When you can’t even picture an alternative life without ED behaviors, it can feel disheartening or impossible to recover. Because if you can’t imagine something, how do you know if it’s possible?
This can ultimately leave you thinking:
“What’s the point in putting all this effort into recovery anyway?”
This is why it’s so important to take each step of the recovery process day by day, hour by hour, & moment by moment.
Even once you start to feel like you have footing in recovery, it can feel impossible to imagine a life where fighting urges doesn’t drain every last bit of energy from your day.
The reality is, imagining a future life in recovery is a lot like a first-year med student not being able to picture what it would be like to be a cardiac surgeon.
The med student can’t imagine what it would be like because they have not yet gone through the entirety of their med school, residency, and fellowship experiences that are designed to gradually build their skill set and expertise to one day pass the boards to become a board-certified cardiac surgeon. The reality is, this passionate first-year med student will eventually graduate med school, become a resident, and then a fellow. And as they go through each of these stages it will become more and more of a possibility for them to picture what it will be like to work as a cardiac surgeon.
Similarly, in eating disorder recovery, it takes the daily dedication of putting one step in front of the other, taking it meal by meal, which over time leads to notable progress. As progress builds upon progress, you will eventually start to picture what the freedoms of recovery might look like, because little by little you are getting glimpses. We often have to work through the tears, growth, and pain of the earlier recovery processes to be able to see the tiny glimpses of what literally crazy amazing things might be on the horizon.
So, just because you can’t imagine recovery right now, never means that it’s impossible.
Rather, each step, each alternate healthy coping mechanism, and each day of not using eating disorder behaviors will bring you closer and closer to being able to picture what your life might look like with the newfound freedoms of eating disorder recovery.
Tiffany Haug, MS, RDN, EDOC is a Master's level Dietitian in San Diego who specializes in helping individuals with Eating Disorders make peace with food and their bodies. Tiffany knows that working through recovery can be incredibly hard. Being herself recovered for almost a decade, she is incredibly honored to now be able to give back by supporting her clients along this challenging, but so-very-worth-it journey. In addition to being an Eating Disorder Dietitian, Tiffany serves as the Education Chair for the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) San Diego Chapter and works as a Pediatric Dietitian at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Learn more about Tiffany here.