Surviving vs. Thriving. A Collage.



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.


15 responses »

  1. I agree beautiful – have to reblog – you are already all those wonderful qualities – you are taking owner ship of them. I love seeing how you get on with this kind of therapy. It is so far removed from Anything I have come across. It’s empowering. You are an inspirational woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A2, you continue to impress me! That’s a great collage. I especially like the burn bright and love pieces. When you have love in your heart instead of fear, you burn bright without even knowing it! As I’ve said already, I can see the fighter in you, the young woman who is working her way out of the mire. I can see the faint glow already starting that will definitely be fanned into that bright flame of love! You will become the beautiful woman God made you to be. Just rely on Him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, ok. Now I know who you are. One time in this really great outpatient ED treatment program, I made a picture using M&M’s which at that time was a binge food for me. My atypical antipsychotics make my metabolism and hunger levels really screwy. I’m researching the research on it because I’ve been an exercise bulimic (binge and overexercise) for most of my life, even before the meds. But the binging got way worse after the meds in 2000 and now I have permanent chronic pain injuries. I don’t want more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bipolar, are you saying you know who I am: Jeffrey? Probably not, but that’s OK. I’ve never been in a program. I started reading the blog of a recovered young lady with ED. Then I just started stumbling into other similar people, like A2. Now you! I am saddened by the pain people with ED suffer, and I want offer my support and encouragement.

        I had friend like you in high school long ago; binge and over exercise. I also am related by marriage to a woman who is bipolar and has ED. I just never really understood it until I started reading BeautyBeyondBones.

        I do like the idea of an M&M picture! I can imagine the willpower it had to take not to eat your project!! šŸ™‚ Those are a weakness for me too. I’ll eat a whole bag regardless of size without even realizing it until my stomach screams “Mercy!”

        You have my prayers for recovery and relief!


  3. I have a collage notebook for my eating disorder. It’s very helpful!! Cathartic!! I like ripping and obsessing over “finding the right place” on the page. I have a page for eating disorder thoughts, one for recovery quotes, one for reasons to recover, one for safe foods, makeup, hair, dream home, etc. it’s actually a lot of fun!! My version of art journal! ;]

    The ripping out feels good like tension and stress slips away!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Surviving vs. Thriving. A Collage. | The Sound of Ed's Voice

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