I found myself at rock bottom
I had sunk to my bottommost point (several times over), but the strength of my eating disorder managed to drag me down further into a darker place than I knew to exist.
I was helpless, hopeless and powerless. I had tried what felt like countless ‘tricks’ in the Recover Clinic book, yet still my newly acquired insight and understanding of my illness wasn’t enough to keep the ugly head of ED underwater. I had made great progress at the clinic but there was a final act of surrender I was waiting to ‘click’.
There was only one thing left to explore.. ‘spirituality’.
I had long decided that inner peace & soul searching was reserved for Buddhist monks and the blissfully deluded. Much to the dismay of Emmy and the Recover team I had sniggered, cringed and laughed in the face of this mindfulness meditation madness. I used to spend our weekly meditation session floating between obsessive calorie counting and Beyonce role reversal daydreams. Not quite the calming act of serenity and focus the group intended to provide.
My torturous reality was a world apart from the elaborate daydreams. When I found myself at rock, rock bottom (a term used but never described; crying on my bathroom floor at 4am contemplating swallowing bleach) I knew something had to change. At this stage – what did I have to lose?
My search for enlightment
Having never been someone who does things by half, I soon had an Amazon order en route with every guide to spirituality ever published and shopping bags filled with throws, candles and a wildly over priced Buddhist sculpture (who knew Zara Home was so spiritual friendly!?). I was now ready to create my very own corner of Zen.
So I had channelled my inner Gwyneth Paltrow.. When would I start feeling the effects of this miraculous enlightenment I had been promised? I waited… And I waited… Nothing???
I angrily marched into the clinic demanding a refund on this whole ‘spiritual malark’. One of the ever ‘patient-therapists’ dared to enquire the steps I had taken so far. I listed off my purchasing of the books, as well as my specialist meditation area I had designed.
“I see… and how have you been getting on with the meditation?” she asked innocently (/knowingly). I soon realised spirituality was the one area where extravagant buying couldn’t be a ‘solution’ to the problem. It wasn’t enough to have the chicest meditation corner this side of North London, I actually had to do the work and meditate.
Exploring mindfulness meditation
‘Keep it simple’ I was told, so after the last misguidance I decided to follow instructions carefully and focused on setting myself the ‘manageable’ goal of meditating once a week every Sunday night for 10 minutes.
I hated it. Previous back-to-work Sunday fear was replaced with a new terror awaiting me; I would have to sit alone within myself for 10 minutes.
However.. I stuck at it. Then 4 weeks in something miraculous happened. It got slightly more bearable. I decided to push myself further and started mediating twice a week at set times. I used a mixture of YouTube guided mindfulness meditations and some of the mantras/affirmations I had learnt at the clinic.
The easier it got the more open I became to the idea of exploring my spirituality as a tool for recovery. As I began to increase the weekly frequency of practise, I became more fascinated with the idea of what I had committed myself to. Delving into my collection of spiritual books sparked further curiosity that led me to articles online. I couldn’t believe how much research support was out there; medical journals, scientific studies, interviews with Olympic athletes, billionaire CEOs and even high ranking military. Every study, article and testimony confirmed the incredible positive effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain.
The power of spirituality
Since then I haven’t looked back. Slowly my whole value system began to change, I felt deep gratitude for so many ‘small’ things that I had previously ignored. My higher power helped me to dilute the beliefs and thoughts that had served as fuel for my ED and dictated my life. Most significantly, it helped to quieten the ‘ED voice’ in my head that demanded an all consuming and unattainable need for perfection.
Whilst I continue down my road to recovery, the magnitude of this faith (in a power greater than myself) has spectacularly opened my eyes. I realised just how viciously the venom of my ED had trickled into nearly every aspect of my life (not just eating behaviours / body image).
I now have begun unravelling these self-realisations along with the unwavering guidance, support and love from the Recover clinic. And most importantly, I am another step closer to finally living the life I deserve.