Where there is the greatest understanding, the pain can also be very great. Like if a friend's parent dies…and you can understand better than anyone else, because you have a parent that died too. You have a bond with the friend, but at the same time, you are triggered into sad memories and your thinking can bring you down.
I think living with an eating disorder can be very similar.
When you're in a vulnerable state, you might think of removing yourself from things simply so you won't be triggered, but I ask you to think again. Sometimes being vulnerable and breaking down a bit is something that has to happen in order for us to move forward. It has to happen for us to get anywhere on a long-term basis.
And let's face it, a long-term solution is the one you're after. Short-term just isn't going to cut it where an eating disorder is concerned.
Removing yourself may seem possible, beneficial, and even necessary. It's very easy to do well when there is nothing triggering you. But it's only going to be a short-term solution—because the world is triggering. And that will never change…unless we can learn to deal with the triggering problems as they happen.
I remember when I was a member of an eating disorder therapy group a few years ago. It was very hard not to compare myself to the other girls and very hard to stay positive when there was so much negativity bouncing around all the time. BUT I kept going, and as the group became more bonded, we were able to see a lot more about each other and about ourselves…and the triggering nature of everything became less and less. We were able to work with it—the triggering aspects of a group of girls thrown together, constantly comparing themselves to each other—and move forward.
The potential to be triggered by what others say, do, and look like is a big one. It's so easy to over-analyze, to feel more insecure, to compare ourselves to others. It's prevalent and it's going to happen. It's the nature of the disease and of our society. An eating disorder thrives off of triggering moments and situations. Be aware of this. Be prepared for this. You'll be less apt to destroy yourself and more apt to survive.
And so, my whole point is: Don't be afraid of being triggered. Because it's going to happen. Sooner or later, frequently or infrequently. Life is about knowing what you want and being able to turn the bad around. And that takes time. The sooner we can learn to deal with what upsets us and sets us off, the better off we will be. That's a fact.