You’re back at school. Christmas vacation is over. New Years is over. You’ve had a week of classes. For you on the quarter system, the classes are new.
Are you in good shape, or are you anxious and back into your eating disorder? You should feel energized by your relaxed and fun filled break from school routines.
You should feel nourished by the love, understanding and support you received from friends and family. You should feel good about yourself because you are honoring the wonderful New Year’s resolutions you made that will make your life better.
Cruel tyranny of your shoulds But is that how your vacation break played out? If you have an eating disorder your situation may be far from what your shoulds dictate. You may have put up a false front on your vacation and binged and purged secretly. You may have tricked people into thinking you were eating when you were not eating much at all. You may have isolated and, even among friends and family, and kept yourself emotionally removed. Maybe your isolation was especially necessary with friends and family. You may have been terrifically disappointed when the hopes you had for the holiday were dashed by the reality of the difficult and troublesome people in your life who haven’t changed at all.
Crumbling New Years Resolutions You may now feel defeated because your New Year’s resolutions are breaking up. Instead of feeling confident and on a new path you feel weary and scared. You may be waking up in the morning with anxiety that lasts throughout the day. Your resolutions about healthy eating on a healthy food plan fail because you need your eating disorder to get through your day. If you are reading this post, and reading this far, then you are looking for help. You are looking for something, for someone that you can grab hold and start climbing out of this pain. It’s terrible to feel scared. It’s terrible to feel yourself sliding down that slippery eating disorder slope.
How to find your way You don’t have to wake up every morning with fear and disappointment. You don’t have to dread your need for food and your fear of being lost in your eating disorder. You don’t have to weaken yourself so that you can’t concentrate on classes, get poor grades or another incomplete. You don’t have to find ways to cheat to get by and then live in fear of being found out. Please, reach out for help. Go to your campus counseling center. See if the women’s studies program teachers and students can tell you about support groups. Journal your feelings and your dictatorial shoulds to begin to get hold of your real situation. Call your psychotherapist. If you don’t have one, then start your search to get one.
Prepare for Your future The challenges of being a college student are great. Your scholastic, social and economic challenges come at a time when your mind and emotions are particularly vulnerable to the stresses of living in a larger and more complex world. You are surrounded by opportunities and risks in making your life choices. Graduation will plunge you into an even more challenging and complex situation. So, now is the time to address your needs for greater strength, healing and stability. Greet yourself as the warm, flesh and blood, genuine human being you are. Bring into your life what you need to heal and flourish. In school you have many opportunities to reach for help. Getting help now to recover from your eating disorder is the best preparation for your future. You may have a strong sense of what you should be feeling and how you should be responding and behaving. If your shoulds are unreasonable, uncaring and cruel now is the time to rebel. If you break with the tyranny of your cruel shoulds, you can find the freedom and strength you need to move into a more loving and healing way of life.