Moving into eating disorder recovery marks a major change in the way you have been living. You may think that you want the behaviors, the cravings and the anxiety to stop. You want to be at ease with your body and yourself. You want a more free life with relationships that are healthy and kind. Mostly, you want your pain and fear to end. This means change.
You may be having nightmares. You don’t know the full extent of how recovery will disrupt the routine of your life as you live it suffering from an eating disorder.
Often we don’t know when we reach a critical point in our lives. The desire to believe that disruption is temporary and life will get “back to normal soon” is powerful.
Our lives are disrupted when a sudden change, like an illness or natural catastrophe or death takes us by surprise.
But our lives can also be disrupted when seemingly small events repeat until they reach a critical point when you, can’t bear a recurrent experience any more. Examples can include verbal or physical abuse, playing a false role for a family member or employer, fatigue at boring routine that fails to nourish your mind and spirit, frustration at keeping the peace between warring family members, rebellion at being a forever self sacrificing care-giver, sorrow at delaying taking action on something you care about, shock, despair or anger discovering that others expect you to talk but never take action on what you care about.
Our lives can also be disrupted when quietly or subtly you’ve been making positive changes in your life and then, one step more brings about dismay, anger and intolerance around you. Examples can include your taking classes to educate yourself and expand your horizons, volunteering for an organization or cause that is meaningful to you, carving out time to paint, dance, learn calligraphy or gardening or basket weaving or chess.
These activities may be accepted as a hobby or pastime by friends and family members. But when your logical next step is to get a job and make commitments based on your newly won skills, your little hobbies have turned into something that threatens the status quo of your family system.
Perhaps you believed you had support for your endeavors. Perhaps you believed the teasing you received about your investment in your education and interests was light hearted. When others confront you with displeasure and even commands to stop your advance, you discover you need to make choices that could be highly disruptive to your way of living.
Moving toward recovery begins long before you enter treatment. You’ve built up an awareness of your suffering have been working to find solutions on your own. When you find you can’t do this on your own you take action and seek help. You are moving toward major change in your life.
Your old way of life will change because you are shedding the eating disorder behaviors and the eating disorder mind set. You will respond differently to what’s in your world. You will say yes and no differently. You will accept and reject differently. And that’s disruptive to your old status quo.
Your unconscious takes in information and events with little or no filters. Your conscious mind works hard to keep your life in balance. It maintains a system of filters, denial, wishful thinking and critical self talk that insists you maintain the life you are living. But your unconscious, eventually, will reach a critical point of absorption and send you a message that massive change is not only imminent but has already begun.
Nightmares are a form of the message breaking through your conscious filters. When you dream of earthquakes, volcanoes, massive waves or monsters that are unstoppable and bent on destruction you wake up frightened with your heart pounding. You are relieved it was only a dream.
You don’t die in the dream. The dream is your own self telling you, not that you life is ending, but that a way of living is coming to an end. You are receiving vital information. Your old way of life that can only exist if you have an eating disorder is coming to an end. You are on the beginning of your journey to create massive change in your life, and the journey has already begun.
Write your dreams in your journal. Share them with your psychotherapist. Nightmares are gifts, the scarier the nightmare the better the gift if you catch it and work with it. Your dreams, especially your nightmares, can support you, guide you and help you cope with your present and prepare for what’s coming.
*pix Volcanic eruptions are powerful, massive disruptions. However, volcanic eruptions are responsible for maintaining planetary equilibrium, soil enrichment, land formation, global cooling, geothermal energy (pollution free), hot springs, atmosphere creation, controls surface temperature of earth’s crust through venting. Despite the danger of being caught in a nearby lava flow which disrupts the immediate vicinity, all life benefits from volcanic eruptions.
When your mind and perspective are disrupted, you too, after the shock waves, bring great benefits to your life by releasing illusions, seeing more reality, harnessing your personal power, discovering hidden riches within you that nourish your life and so much more.
**pix This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
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