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Even When All Feels Lost, There Is Still Hope

By: Nicole Bertucci, LMFT, Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles

Posted on September 12, 2016

One of the things I hear my clients say the most is, "I can't imagine life without having an eating disorder." They can't imagine a day where they won't choose food based on its calorie content or when they can go shopping for clothes and have their choices be dictated by something other than what they are trying to hide about themselves. The voices of women who have tried with all of their might to break free from the tedious rituals, punishing thoughts, and destructive behaviors that make up what it feels like to live with an eating disorder. When one is trying to follow her meal plan, pay attention to her emotions, and tolerate all kinds of new discomfort, holding on to hope for recovery can often easily fall to the wayside. It can feel like trying to see the whole beautiful forest while slogging through the thick, scary trees.

And yet, my response to these women is almost always the same: "Of course you can't imagine life any other way, this is what you've known. And yes, recovery is still possible for you." Hope is often the missing piece. Every misstep, every relapse, every effort made that did not turn out the way they imagined only serves to convince these women that recovery is an impossible dream. But I see these things differently – not as failures, but each as an opportunity for reflection and potential growth. What if you needed each of those missteps to slow you down and point you back in the right direction? What if every relapse was meant to happen in service of the greater good of your recovery? After all, nothing ever really worth having comes easily, and yet it always seems worth the effort and sacrifice in the end. This is especially true of eating disorder recovery. So really ask yourself: what helps me hold on to hope for a different way of being? And in the moments when you are not able to hold on for yourself, who can help you? Even on the days when you feel lost and like giving up, keep going. Let hope be the light that guides you on the journey back to yourself.

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