Eating Disorders, Anxiety and Addiction: How to Heal
I am writing this on my fortieth birthday...
I spent many years, all of my twenties and into my thirties, suffering and searching. I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I continued searching anyway. I definitely was unhappy and balked at the idea of happiness, rebuking with, “there’s no such thing as happy, you just become resigned to whatever your life is”. And I believed that.
"So how did all that change? How did I end up here in this beautiful life?"
Yet, I was not even content. I couldn’t settle anywhere, moving from Massachusetts to Japan to Florida back to Mass to Maine. I could not sit with me. There was too much turmoil, too much emotional pain to bare. And as I avoided it, running from place to place, my life continued to spiral into chaos.
Yet my Higher Self, my Divine Spirit, was always present and attempted to guide me however much I resisted. I would have Big Dreams, symbolic and prophetic, showing me where my life was headed and what was going to happen. They always predicted intense suffering followed by extraordinary growth and they always manifested into reality. When the dreams came their symbolism escaped me, I didn’t know how to follow them or change my direction. It was only after all was said and done that they made complete sense.
"She tortured herself with eating disorders and addiction. She wrote herself off as worthless"
When I think back today, I am in awe of the person that I was. She was so sad, so hurt, so lost, yet she somehow survived. She was a tornado of sheer will, often misguided, always passionate. She was beautiful, risky, and had delightful humor yet she only saw what she believed to be damaged, hating everything about herself. She tortured herself with eating disorders and addiction. She wrote herself off as worthless and believed that she would probably be dead before thirty.
So how did all that change? How did I end up here in this beautiful life, with this loving family, within the career that is my calling? How did I end up happy?
Grace. I believe that sometimes in life we are graced with a sudden awakening, in a moment we see ourselves clearly and are compelled to make a change. It happens like the switch to a bulb, it’s turned on and we are then standing in the light. This can happen more than once. For me it has happened several times, each time another layer is peeled away and the growth continues.
We play a part in creating grace. We are not helplessly waiting in the dark to be bestowed with light. We play a part with determination and surrender.
Determination. Something I have realized recently is the level of my determination, an ability to make a decision and execute it. It takes great determination to heal a fragmented mind. It incorporates the willingness to seek help and guidance even when none of it seems to make sense.
Determination is follow through, letting go of self-damaging habits, trust, allowing ourselves to fail, picking it all up again and repeating day after day after day. It incorporates facing debilitating anxiety and fear and taking right action anyway. It entails patience and a fragile hope that life can get better. It embodies surrender.
Today I understand that surrender is the pathway to peace.
Surrender. In our culture we often believe that we have to fight to heal; fight cancer, fight mental illness, fight diabetes, fight insert-problem-here. What I now understand is that fighting only creates fighting. I fought myself for so long; I fought my emotions, I fought my body, my thoughts and my circumstances. I felt victimized and believed I needed to fight to be treated fairly. Within was only helplessness, frustration, and anxiety because I always felt like I had to fight something. I thought that surrendering was weak, I thought that meant giving up and never achieving hopes or dreams.
Today I understand that surrender is the pathway to peace. It is letting go of how we thought things “should” be and, instead, accepting them as they are. This creates space so that we can simply solve the problem at hand. No more wishing things were different; wishing for a different body, different environment, different circumstances. There is nothing more subtle nor more profound than surrender.
Happiness and Peace are waiting for you. You are capable of creating them.
After so many years of repeating grace, determination and surrender I’ve found what I was always looking for. Happiness and peace. Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t happiness and peace the ultimate goal of all we do? Not only within our bodies and minds, but within our bank accounts, within our workplaces or businesses, within our relationships, in retirement, happiness and peace as we live our lives to their perfect completion.
Happiness and peace are waiting for you. You are capable of creating them. I know this because I’ve lived to tell the tale. Now, as I am turning forty I can say with absolute assurance I regret nothing and am grateful for every step of the life I've lived because it provides me the glorious ability to understand the human spirit. It affords me the honor of uplifting others. Take a step toward a happy and peaceful life… begin searching for grace and begin your journey.
Sarah is a Yoga psychotherapist and life coach specializing in prenatal and postpartum women battling anxiety, eating disorders and body shame. Sarah works virtually with women around the country and in-person in Middleboro, Massachusetts.
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"I would love to hear from you and am grateful for your interest! You deserve to enjoy your body, your baby and your life, I believe Yoga Psychotherapy can help" - Sarah