In experiential group last night, we made collages of what our lives look like just surviving and what they look like thriving. The left half is surviving and the right is thriving. I put a woman punching a punching bag because living with my eating disorder feels like I’m always in a fight for survival. I put “Keep calm OR carry on” because I feel like I can do one or the other, but not both at the same time. I put “To the brink” because I feel like I’m always at the brink when I’m in survival mode. I put “everything easier” (it originally said “everything Easter” but I altered it) because my eating disorder promises it’ll make everything easier. I put “the master” because my eating disorder is literally my master when I’m in that surviving mode. It says “wake me when it’s over” because I just don’t deal with anything, I let my eating disorder deal with it for me. It says “comfort first” because living in survival mode means taking the comfortable route instead of the brave route or the right route. I put “look good” and “you can lose weight while enjoying this” because those are both lies my eating disorder tells me. I put “frizzled” and “whipped” because that’s how I feel all the time in survival mode. It says “Now what?!?” because the rules are ALWAYS changing with an eating disorder. I put And for our next trick” because the eating disorder is always trying to trick me. And finally, there is a woman standing on a scaled with the words “what’s your number?” because the mood for that day, the rules for that day, are always set by what the number says on the scale that morning.
On the thriving side, it says “do more than one thing and do them well” because I want to be able to do more than maintain my eating disorder, and I want to have the focus, health, and cognitive skills to do them well. It says “fear of nothing” because I want to get to a state where I’m not living in fear of food, calories, not exercising, the rules in my head, the judgments of others, etc. It says “the best stories” because I feel like only after I’m thriving can I start to accumulate my life’s best stories. I put “Burn bright. Burn true.” because I want to radiate who I truly am as a person, and be genuine and authentic, not isolate, not lie, not hide. I put “love” because it’s my most import value and I want it to be my guiding passion. I put “no regrets” because I’m tired of living in constant regret. It says “feel good” because I want to feel good about myself, I want to feel good physically, and I want to feel good about who I am as a person. It says “a great finish” because regardless of how I started out life or how I’ve spent the last 31 years, I can have a great finish. I put “experience more” because once I am thriving I can truly experience life, not just get through it. I put “stronger” because I am getting stronger every day and want to continue to do so every day after. I put a picture of a lady with two small children because I want to start a family. I put a picture of someone celebrating their birthday with cake and friends because I want to be able to do that. I put “start every day full of life” because I think it’s a great motto to have. And finally, I put a woman doing a handstand because she looked carefree and I want to be carefree.