Recovery: Physical Touch and Eating

I want to tell you a true story.

Someone asked me, If I make a mistake in my journey of recovery, does that mean I’m back where I started from? In my non-professional opinion, no, it absolutely doesn’t mean that.

I use to have an extremely hard time letting people display simple forms of physical touch towards me – such as hand shakes, hugging, sitting close to me and letting someone braid my hair, just to name a few.

I remember the first time I let someone braid my hair after the abuse had stopped. I wanted to work hard at getting comfortable with simple displays of physical touch, so I asked someone to braid my hair into two french braids. I hated how it felt that first time. Then, after some time had passed, I asked her to braid my hair again. This time it felt better, but it still wasn’t normal. I asked her a third time, and this time in an appropriate way it felt good to let someone braid my hair. Afterwards, I felt guilty that I liked letting someone braid my hair. I scratched my head forcefully and frantically unraveled the braids. I need to calm down, it’s just a braid, I told myself. Then my friend re-braided my hair, and even though I didn’t like how it felt this time, I tried my best to sit still.

Time passed, and I actively worked on looking people straight in the eye, while firmly shaking their hand, and letting people hug and sit close to me. Before long, she braided my hair for the fifth time, and I was more comfortable than the last time.

This same method could pertain to an eating disorder. I vividly remember the last time I drove my body through rigorous hours of exercise. Or when I would starve myself for weeks and survive on next to nothing. As I started to recover, I took steps forward, as well as steps back, just like the braid example.

There were days that I thought, surely I have this whole eating disorder recovery down. I’m eating three normal meals, even a snack too and I’m only running normal miles. I can totally do this. But then fear would inch its way into my mind, because after eating normally, I often felt fat. I’m not eating tomorrow to make up for what I just consumed. This cycle would repeat itself frequently, but as time passed, and I continued to work hard, the periods of starvation lessened, as I formed new habits.

Just because you have a moment of struggle, defeat or a bad day in your journey to recovery from abuse, an eating disorder or anything doesn’t mean you haven’t made progress towards freedom. Don’t be to hard on yourself and take it one step at a time, life is a journey, embrace the change. But when you do fall, dust off the dirt, as you rise to thank God and begin again, always embracing each opportunity in life to seek beauty.

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One thought on “Recovery: Physical Touch and Eating

  1. Maura,

    Thank you once again……It took years to allow someone to sit close to me,or shake my hand….I am asking for prayer once again……I am taking a leap of faith and trusting Jesus in a certain area of my life and I am anxiety-filled. I know that with God all things are possible….and I don’t want to “die a copy”. God made me unique!

    You, amd Made in His Image are in my prayers.

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