Rosetta Stone: Sarah in Recovery

Rosetta Stone: Sarah in Recovery

Today has been a lot better. Last night was the perfect melt down I needed and today I am by myself, creating temporary distance between myself and those who were triggering me, and creating new bonds with people that I once pushed away. I do believe that isolating can be a bad thing if you do too much of it but sometimes you need to shut your door and recharge so you can build yourself up so you can handle situations thrown your way. 

I am a firm believer that nobody can make you feel anything, it’s how your mind responds to words and situations. I am in charge of my own feelings and when I feel sad or happy or mad and nobody can force me to feel those things. So when you think or say to somebody “You’re pissing me off” or “You are making me feel …..” that you are making you feel that way. If someone does something and your initial response is anger it’s not them, it’s your mind’s response. 

Grace at Remuda told us in one group that anytime you have an emotion and it’s intensity is over a 3 on a 1 to 10 scale, it’s because of past traumas or personal experiences that you haven’t worked through. Have you ever said something that seemed completely rationale and someone’s reaction seemed way a tad over dramatic? It’s probably because a similar situation has happened to them before, sometimes multiple times, that makes them defense or feel angry. And this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, either. Like if you hear a compliment that you didnt think you would ever hear or something great happened and before that moment you never thought it would? A lot of our emotions are rooted from situations in the past and they can get in the way of the reality that is right in front of us. 

If you have been reading my blog these last 4 to 5 days, then it is probably evident that my life has been a hot, hot mess. People have said things and my reactions have been way over a 3. If I had to guess, I would probably say that my reactions, especially yesterdays, were in the 48 ball park :). It wasn’t anybody’s fault really, just a lot of words that were said that triggered things that made me really upset. 

I am pretty positive that with all of things that have really upset were not on purpose. I do have great support here and there was no malice into anything that they said, it just triggered me and put my mind into a low low place.

I know I am not alone here. A lot of my friends from treatment who are making a big change or move tell me that one of their biggest problems is hearing comments from their friends and family that put them in a bad place. it’s so easy to blame them or to get mad and think “Why the hell would you say that to/around me? Don’t you know what I am going through? Are you that ignorant?” 

My eating disorder speaks a completely different language than people who aren’t suffering and it can take someone’s innocent words and translate them into something that they are not. For example when most people say “You look good”, 99.9% of the time it they don’t mean “You look so much fatter than when I saw you. You are worthless.” But yet, that’s how I take it.

Simple words or phrases like that translate to us completely different and therefore we respond or feel negatively towards ourselves. If you aren’t suffering and want to help us feel comfortable then it’s important to educate yourself. Ask questions before you say statements. Honestly, I would rather answer someone’s lack of knowledge than have to listen to things that are upsetting. 

I am not saying that I want people to learn this shitty eating disorder language but I thought that it might be nice for those who are support people to learn what phrases may mean to me. So this is Rosetta Stone: Sarah’s Recovery translated from English to My Eating Disorder Voice

When you say:

You look healthy 

What I hear is:

You look huge. I don’t want to be mean and comment on the tons of weight you’ve gained since I last saw you so I am just going to say healthy. But really, you are disgusting

When you say: 

I feel fat

What I hear is:

The reason why I feel fat is because I am around you. 

When you say:

I wish I was skinny

What I hear is/What my eating disorder responds is:

Sarah, you’re the fat one. You will never be thin, you will never be happy. 

When you say:

Look at how skinny/thin/small/tiny/beautiful she is

What I hear:

Look at how perfect that girl is. Sarah, you will never be the girl who people say is those things. You are worthless, fat, and disgusting. You need to skip your next meal

When you say:

Are you going to eat that?

What I hear is:

Stop eating. You are already fat enough. You don’t deserve to eat anymore, go purge. Everyone is disgusted with who you are and how you look

When you say:

You know, you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. All you do is eat healthy and you will lose weight the right way

What I hear is:

You need to lose weight

When you say:

Honestly, you look fine. I can’t even tell a difference from you now and you six months ago

What I hear is:

You failed at Anorexia. You could go years without eating and everyone would still think you are a fat ass. You were a fat ass then and you are a fat ass now

When you say:

You weren’t that bad. You still looked normal

What I hear is:

Same response as above

When you say:

I’m on a new diet

What I hear is:

Sarah, I’m dieting and you need to too. Stop eating. 

I know reading this you are not ‘fluent’ in this twisted, fucked up language but this is just a small sliver of what we hear when someone says something like those statements. As I said earlier, it is not the support person’s fault for us to feel that why. We became fluent in this after years of self torture and they trigger a response that can boil down to our core belief that we are fat and worthless. 

I don’t really know where this post is going. Basically, if you are suffering or in recovery, please remember to be patient. It is a learning curve for everyone. People will say the wrong things and you will feel hurt, lonely and ashamed. My biggest tip is to step away and try to look at their perspective. Yesterday, for example, I heard what was said, as soon as I could I peaced out and allowed myself to feel all of my emotions and kept telling myself “he meant this” over and over. Logically, I am learning to believe it. Emotionally, it’s still extremely difficult to swallow and not think that the purpose in the comment wasn’t a lie. Acknowledge that the way you perceived it is probably false is at least in the step in the right direction. 

Support people, be patient with us and please ask questions! If you say something and you can tell that we are upset, remember that it’s our eating disorder, not you, that is translating your message into something else. I want people to understand me and I want people to see how hard I am working. I know that meal time can be awkward for support people because y’all may not know what to do or say but honestly, it would mean the world to me if during a meal, you asked what was going on in my mind. And I promise you, even on my best days, when it comes to food, I have something to share. If you think we are struggling, say something and if you see progress, PLEASE tell us that you are proud. This may sound dumb, but I know in my recovery, I have to know that I am loved by the people around me and feel safe. There are so many moments when my mind is taking me down this path that tells me that I am failing and that I am worthless or unlovable so for my recovery, I at least have to know that people see progress and that I am loved because on some days, that’s all the love I can have. 



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