It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re just not strong enough to recover from bulimia, especially if you’ve been bulimic for a very long time, or if you’ve experienced multiple failed recovery attempts along the way.
But what you may not realize is that at one time or another, every single person on the road to recovery has shared those same fears.
We’ve all found ourselves thinking:
- What if I’m beyond help?
- What if I’m too broken?
- What if I’m not strong enough?
- What if I fail?
When I first started to recover I was exactly the same.
After ten years of bulimia and a lifetime of disordered eating I was totally convinced that full recovery just wasn’t an option for me.
Not only did I believe I was too weak to recover, I also thought that my bulimic behaviours were so severe and so deeply ingrained that nothing could ever change them.
I couldn’t deny the fact that people around me were recovering but still I was convinced that I was different.
If so, this is where your recovery-logic needs to come into play.
The next time you’re bombarded by feelings of weakness or obsessive thoughts about not being strong enough for recovery, I really want you to understand that this is your eating disorder talking.
This is your fear talking!
Even if you’ve failed at recovery multiple times in the past, you can still recover.
Even if your bulimic behaviours are exceptionally severe, you can still recover.
Even if you do have challenging life circumstances that make the recovery process more complex, you can still recover.
From the diversity of people I’ve worked with as a Recovery Coach over the past few years, I can tell you without a doubt that no one is beyond help when it comes to recovery.
There is no such thing as being ‘too broken.’
But surely recovery is more challenging for some people?
Of course we are all individuals here and so it goes without saying that we all experience our own unique struggles, challenges and traumas in life.
Therefore it also makes sense that some people will find the recovery process more of a struggle than others do.
Some people may need more support and guidance than others.
Some people may need a much longer time-frame for recovery.
Some people may experience multiple relapses over an extended period of time.
But the fact still remains – as long as you’re willing to commit to recovery for as long as it takes, you can and you will still recover.
You may be convinced you’re not strong enough to recover from bulimia if…
1. You’ve been bulimic for a very long time
When you’ve been bulimic for a very long time the idea of ever reaching a state of full recovery can seem impossible, but I’m telling you right now, that it does NOT matter how long you’ve been bulimic for, recovery is still within reach.
Maybe you remember me sharing Pat Mary’s recovery story with you in the past?
Pat recovered after 43 years of bulimia, and she did so in the space of just one year. Yes, you read that right, ONE YEAR.
Of course not everyone recovers so rapidly, and if you’ve been bulimic for decades there is a chance it may take a little longer for you, but you know what? Whether it takes you one year, or a couple of years, ultimately this time will seem so insignificant when compared to the rest of your life and to the richness of the years that will follow.
2. You have extreme binge eating/purging behaviours
I remember a time when I was convinced that there was no hope for me because my bulimic behaviours were so extreme. But what I came to find is that it really doesn’t matter how often you’re binge eating or how often you’re purging. As long as you’re willing to put the work in then the strategies that help you stop purging and the strategies that help you stop binge eating will still work regardless of the frequency of your behaviours.
3. You’re relapsing very often
Relapses can be exhausting and confusing experiences, but I really want to reassure you that whether you experience 5 relapses or 500 relapses throughout the course of your recovery, they’re still not going to stop you from recovering unless you let them.
The trick is to make a commitment to learn from your relapses, to understand what they’re trying to tell you, and to adjust your recovery accordingly. It’s okay if you don’t believe me right now, but I promise you that the insights you gain and the lessons you learn during episodes of relapse are what will make full recovery possible in the end.
If you’re relapsing a lot then you might want to check out my article: How to stop a bulimia relapse.
4. You’ve experienced a traumatic and emotionally damaging life event
Lots of people rely on bulimia for emotional comfort and if you’re using your bulimia as a way to escape from painful thoughts related to life trauma then you may feel as though you’ll never be strong enough to live without it.
But what you’re going to come to find in time is that you are SO MUCH STRONGER once bulimia is out of the picture.
All of that new energy and inner calm coupled with your new healthy coping skills will provide you with the comfort and strength that you’re seeking.
Not convinced? Then why not take a read over this recovery story from Marcy. Marcy experienced unimaginable life traumas but still went on to recover after 19 years of bulimia. Her story proves that recovery is always possible.
5. You never remember a time when you had a normal relationship with food
If you’ve been bulimic or had a messed up relationship with food for a very long time then there is a chance disordered eating is all you’ve ever really known.
Forget about ‘re-learning’ healthy habits around food – recovery will mean learning those habits for the very first time, and that is a daunting prospect.
But always remember that you were not born bulimic. Even under such tough circumstances recovery is still possible.
Whatever it is that’s convincing you you’re not strong enough to recover from bulimia, today is the day to stand up to your fears.
The one thing I really want you to take away from all of this today is that it’s okay if you don’t feel strong right now
We all feel weak earlier on in recovery. Strength is something that builds gradually and grows over time.
feeling weak isn’t the same as being weak.
Choosing recovery takes an incredible amount strength.
No matter what’s happening in your recovery right now, no matter how far you have left to travel, no matter how many times you have fallen, if you’re here reading these words then that means you have chosen recovery.
That means you are stronger than you know!
So the next time you hear that voice telling you that you’re not strong enough to recover from bulimia, I want you to quietly whisper back “yes I am.”
It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe those words fully right now, I promise you the will come when you do.
In health and love,