I spent years telling myself it’s overwhelmingly difficult – nigh on impossible – to overwrite the dialogue of my childhood. That whatever key messages I received in those early years became so embedded they are effectively an intrinsic and immovable part of who I have become.
I said this to my psychiatrist at my first appointment and he said no, I don’t need to overwrite the dialogue of my childhood – I simply need to accept it. Just like that!
It was a rude shock to be honest.
Initially I rebelled – on the inside. I thought he must be wrong. Despite more than a decade of training and two decades of experience as a psychiatrist, I foolishly assumed he was wrong and I was right – because I’d been telling myself the same story for so long.
Over time I have come to accept he was right. That by hanging on to my perceptions, I am impeding recovery. I’m allowing the mistakes of others to hold me back. In order to fully recover, I DO need to accept my past shaped me but does not define me. I DO need to accept the power for change lies with me and not with blaming others. I DO need to accept my past is both good and bad and that along with all the negatives resulting in stunted emotional growth, I was also blessed with great strength. determination and resilience.
Despite almost a year of solid work on recovery, I am still a long way from being psychologically healthy. I’m much improved from this time last year but the long and tiring journey is not yet over. I am currently stuck in a phase where I’m firmly and steadfastly attached to my identity as a bulimic. I am finding it hard to let go of – for quite a few reasons. Every time I start to make a little headway, I sabotage my success and return to the hamster wheel of binge, purge, restrict.
Here’s a moment of analysis regarding the importance of acceptance in my life.
I must accept my mother made terrible mistakes, but did the best she could.
I must accept the past shaped me, but I shape the future.
I must accept I am not the eating disorder.
I must accept recovery will lead me to a happier place than mental illness ever has.
I must accept I am enough – on any day, at any weight, in every way.
I must accept life is precious, valuable, worth living, and worth fighting for.
So many more acceptances to be made I have no doubt… But for this evening, I need to accept I am physically exhausted and sleep will be a welcome reprieve