Occasionally, I will write or doodle on my hand. I tend to do this, most often, when sitting in a boring class, group, or situation, to entertain myself. There was a period of time where I would always draw a little smiley face on my left thumb. I’ve also written little motivational words or sayings to myself. Both times at TK, I wrote numerous things on my hands/arms that encouraged me and were positive reminders to myself.
The second time at TK, I had one phrase, in particular, that became my motto for my recovery.
These words have fueled my recovery as well as my recent life overall. Here’s the thing, I have learned that you can’t erase your fear, no matter how hard you try. Maybe your fear is asking out that cute guy in Spanish class, applying for a new job, moving away for the first time, or maybe your fear is having to finish your meal. You can go about the situation telling yourself to not be afraid, but typically, at least in my own life, that seems to only produce panic about being panicked. And then, you’re just stuck in a vicious cycle of worry, anxiety, and distress, ahhhh! You can’t wish your fear away, no matter how hard you try, or how hard you plead or pray. Your fear is there because this matters to you. I couldn’t snap my fingers and suddenly chow down on pizza like it was nothing. All of our fears comes from different places. For me, in my recovery, that fear was a fear of change and a fear of surrender. I was afraid of let go of the world I knew, the safety of my disordered eating, and the rigidity of anorexia’s rules for me.
So, instead, I decided to live with the fear. Easy, right? No f****** way! It is a huge challenge, no matter what our fear may be, but I honestly believe that “feeling the fear” and pushing through it is entirely possible. I’m a huge fan of the TV show LOST. I binge watched the whole series on Netflix and was hooked. Anyways, my obsession is beside the point, lol. One of the shows main characters has a great moment where he lets himself fully feel his fear, for five seconds, and then he goes and forces himself to be brave. And this is now how I try to approach my fears. I sit in front of my plate, count in my head slowly” 1, 2, 3…” and then pick up my fork and take some bites. It’s difficult and takes practice each and every day.
I am finding, however, that acknowledging my fear, and then working through it, leads to greater ease overall. To “feel the fear and do it anyway” challenges me to face my fear head on, not avoid it any longer, and ultimately opens up my comfort zone just a bit more. I am able to obsess less over my fears and focus way more on how good it feels to be courageous!