Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Feeling the Pain in the Healing Process” (By: Emily Carr)
Lately, there have been a lot of different emotions running through my heart + mind.

Excitement. Anxiety. Joy. Loss. Weariness. Exhaustion. Peace.

In the past my “go-to” for processing these emotions was to jump to my ED behaviors. I had been told that I am too emotional, so I have tried to do what I could to detach myself from situations that made me feel too “out-of-control” of my emotions. Instead of acknowledging my emotions without judgement, I would try to shut them down, numbing out the bad and the good in my life.

My ED gave me peace.

My ED satisfied me.

My ED helped me through stressful situations.

My ED seemed like the best solution to my unprocessed feelings.

The relief that my ED brought me was only temporary.

It left me feeling empty, disgusted, frustrated, confused, and worse off than I was before with my unprocessed emotions.

It numbed out the good in my life.

It was only through working with a therapist that I was able to realize that my emotions aren’t bad; it’s the way I judge them, perceive, and place expectations on them that gets me in trouble.

When I think of graduation, marriage, and a new career, I think joy, excitement, happiness, contentment, gratitude, and satisfaction. These are all great things, wonderful blessings from God.

When I think of graduation, marriage, and “adult life”, I do feel excited. Those things do bring me great joy, happiness, and contentment.

They also cause me to become a little anxious and fearful. They bring forth emotions of grieving & loss for the life I have known for so long. Sometimes I do feel discontent, unsatisfied, & just plain pissed-off, and that’s okay.

It’s okay to feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated, joyful, scared, and excited all at the same time. It’s understandable. It’s expected. It’s normal. We don’t have to feel guilty about what we feel and how we process. 

As hard as it is, I know that the best way for me to process these feelings is to let myself feel them rather than running away from them. I journal, I pray, I talk to a friend, & I ask God to help me feel the feelings I need to feel without having them overtake me. I love this quote from my new favorite book, Uninvited, by Lysa TerKeurst:

“If we place our hope in the hands of our unchanging, unflinching God who never leaves us or forsakes us, we’ll find healing and freedom. We’ll be able to see something on the other side of all of the pain. Something good. Something we know will be so worth whatever it takes to get well. So instead of running from the pain, we embrace it as necessary. We must feel the pain to heal the pain. If we never allow ourselves to feel it, we won’t acknowledge it’s there.”

Acknowledging our pain is the only way to find true healing.

Maybe like me, you are going through a season of transition, change, & mixed-emotions. You have experienced loss, joy, anxiety, stress, and excitement all at once for the past few months.

Maybe, like me, you are trying to navigate your ED recovery journey.

What a journey filled with so many tears, feelings of frustration, and pain.

What a journey filled with so much growth, strength, rebuilding, and redemption.

In the recovery process, we have to allow ourselves to feel all of these emotions if we truly want to discover who we are, how our journey has brought us to this point, and how we are going to position ourselves in a place where we can feel our emotions, & coop in a healthy way that doesn’t harm us.

It isn’t easy. In fact, most of the time, sitting with our unwanted emotions without resorting to distractions or unhealthy behaviors will make us feel a lot worse in the beginning. When all of those pent-up emotions finally come up, it can be messy. It’s hard to process years of neglected emotions at what seems like all at once. It is only by processing this pain that beauty can be born. It is only when we allow ourselves to feel what our hears are crying out for that we are able to step back, process, and heal.

Feel your feelings, acknowledge the good & the bad, and take a step towards healing today.

About the Author

Emily Carr is currently a Nutrition and Dietetics student at Tennessee Technological University. She is a lover of Jesus, who believes her purpose in life is to love God and love people. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, writing, hiking, learning, and playing with her dog Maddie. Upon graduation, she hopes to attain a dietetic internship in order to fulfill her goal of becoming a Registered Dietician. Her goal is to learn how to best take care of herself so that in the future she can help others find peace and healing in their relationship with food. She hopes that sharing her story will inspire others on their own journey, and encourage them not to give up.