The Recovery Bean
Feel the fear and do it anyway
The phrase "Feel the fear and do it anyway", is one I throw around quite a lot, and one I discussed in some depth in my post on my "Mantras and messages to shut down that ED voice" post https://therecoverybean.wixsite.com/therecoverybean/post/mantras-and-messages-to-shut-down-that-ed-voice. What I thought might be useful today though, is to explore it in greater detail and look at how we can really apply it in recovery.
I think the first thing we need to remember when applying this methodology, is what fear represents. It's no good telling you to feel this emotion if you have no idea why! Personally I like to acknowledge that whilst it might seem like I'm terrified of eating a certain food or implementing an opposite action with all my being, it is actually only the disordered part of my brain that is scared. With that in mind, I think it becomes much more obvious why we need to challenge the things we fear, as fear is the physical expression of our ED's.
Recovery is uncomfortable. It's anxiety provoking, stressful, and takes a lot of energy. Facing up to a challenge such as honouring extreme hunger or eating a fear food, can often bring with it a lot of guilt and in my case, just generally make me a bit of a horrible person to be around after. In recovery we have to deal with a lot of conflicting messages from our rational and ED brains, and this can take up so much mental space that we become unable to process anything else around us, or any other emotions. As a result of this, I sometimes find myself questioning whether it's really worth it. The backlash is near unbearable at times, and especially if I know I have already met my minimums, I wonder if it'd be better to just stick to that.
I struggle with this a lot, as I know that often I let the hard time my ED's giving me be taken out on those I love, and so it almost feels selfish. This is of course just the ED talking, because whilst in an ideal world we could shield everyone else from the agitated and irritable person that feeling constantly exhausted can make us into, those who truly love us will support us through recovery regardless. I feel it's also necessary to add that our ED is what truly makes us selfish, and has done the whole time we've been ill, and so that is no excuse... we will always be stuck in our self absorbed little ED bubble if we don't fight now. By accepting that it will be hard in the short term and doing it anyway, we are opening ourselves up to a life whereby we will no longer have to let people down because our ED stops us from going out. We will be able to engage properly in conversations, and take more interest in other people's lives... we'll be able to support them, and demonstrate compassion. Therefore, recovery, no matter what it encompasses, is always going to be the right option.
I know that I can't back down to a challenge no matter how my disordered brain pretends to rationalise the decision, as in doing so, I am allowing my ED to win. Recovery should feel disgusting, because you're going against everything that your illness has indoctrinated you to believe for however long you've been suffering. By feeling the fear and doing it anyway you are actively recovering. Our aim should always be to wind our ED up... that's how we beat this. I also like to bear in mind when I'm doing this, that whilst it's unpleasant, so was every single day living with my ED. This is harder than it seems, because our ED's like to paint a pretty little picture of how much better life was when we obeyed them, but I promise you, our ED ruled lives were ugly.
I hope this post helped you embrace the concept of 'feeling the fear and doing it anyway' that little bit more, and that it acted as a reminder that this is the route to overcoming your ED once and for all. Fear is the expression of your ED and so in order to recover we have to allow ourselves to feel it as evidence of us challenging it.
Keep fighting everyone,
More from me soon,
Mais// The Recovery Bean <3