The Never-Ending Struggle

* I wrote this post January 31, 2015 on Facebook. I wanted to make it accessible here as it relates to the post I’m currently writing about depression. *

 

Addiction. Eating disorders. Depression. Anxiety. Heartache. Chances are you know someone who has dealt with or is dealing with one of these issues or something like it, or it might even be you. One thing I’ve noticed is that many who have recovered (especially celebrities, but maybe because they’re some of the few who are basically forced to talk about their struggles and recovery) give this disclaimer: “I’m in a really good place right now, but {insert issue here} is something I will always struggle with.” Another way I’ve heard it said is that “it’s a daily battle.”

It’s been nagging at me the past few days, keeping me up at night even (it is currently 3:15 am and my baby is fast asleep, I’ve got no one to blame but this blog). It’s never sat well with me and I couldn’t put my finger on it until this week.

This week I started therapy. I’m not embarrassed and I’m not in any type of meltdown or crisis… it was just high time I got a “tune-up” 🙂 There, I heard from a professional for at least the fourth time in my life that I’m (by clinical standards) depressed and anxious. I don’t really know what to say to you about that other than it wasn’t a surprise and I’m not upset by it, nor am in danger because of it. I have been medicated in the past but for a variety of reasons, it’s just not the way I want to treat the depression.

That’s what’s going on currently. Formerly, I struggled through an eating disorder (skipping meals and obsessing over my looks and the number on the scale, if it matters to you) for about 7 years. I have already talked about that in a previous post so I’ll just move right ahead to post-ED for me. Since I’ve recovered I’ve heard and seen many people claim that having an eating disorder is a daily struggle even after recovery, and that it is something you will always battle with.

I’m writing this now to present my two cents on the matter, because it finally clicked for me why this is a dangerous way to view recovery.

I am not struggling daily with my ED.

It might only come down to semantics, but this is why I can’t bring myself to say that depression, ED, anxiety, and whatever else I need to recover from will always be my battle.

1) When we tell ourselves and others that {insert issue here} will always be a struggle, we’re creating a safety net built from a pre-approved excuse for a relapse. We’re taking away our power and giving it to the disorder/addiction/etc., claiming that we will never be free from it. We’re also feeding into an attitude of fear. How disheartening to go through a recovery program or treatment where you’ve fought tooth and nail to acquire health only to hear that you’re not done fighting, and you never will be. If you become tired in battle, that only means your disorder or addiction is going to get the best of you at some point or another because you and the issue are always struggling.

John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

2) I think a healthier way to respond to questions or uncertainties about our recovery is to say or know for ourselves that {insert issue here} is something we are aware we have been prone to struggle with or fall for, which is why we now x, y and z. I can confidently say that I do not daily struggle with the thought of skipping meals. I do not mean to say that I am forever immune to having an ED again, but I am aware that this has been an issue for me in the past and since I may be prone to relapse, I do not own a scale, I don’t spend more time looking in the mirror than I need to, and I eat even when I don’t feel like it.  These are things my husband, for example, doesn’t need to think about, but I am conscious to make little decisions like these to keep me out of temptation’s way. This is not a struggle. I do not agonize over these choices. I have tasted freedom (and chocolate) and will continue to safeguard my life so that a relapse is highly unlikely.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

 

James 4:7 “So humble yourselve before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

3) Absolutely admit when you are currently struggling. This whole idea is not to shame anyone when they aren’t able to handle addiction or disorder on their own. My plea is only to be careful with your words so that you don’t trap yourself into just waiting for the relapse once you’ve become too tired to carry on in battle. I just hate the sense of doom that comes with the idea of “always struggling.” There are two things in my life that I am currentlystruggling with, migraines and depression, and if I believed I would have to constantly do battle with these issues for the rest of my life… I’d want to throw in the towel now (and I have had those temptations when I thought “this is never going to end”). Unfortunately we see that happening far too often. And so I am seeking help – coping mechanisms, support systems, correct treatments – until I can get over the “hump” and into recovery so that I can then live a life safeguarding myself from relapses rather than just waiting things out until they get bad again. Safeguarding your sobriety/health will require that you can honestly identify the triggers in your life and then do everything you can to flee from those temptations. As promised above, God will show you a way out.

Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

4) Finally, a disclaimer to all my loving aunties and grandmas and cousins who will be reading this: I haven’t changed, the migraines and depression have been around as long as I can remember, depression doesn’t always mean that you just mope around hating everything and yourself like it’s often portrayed. I know the word depression is scary so again, as I mentioned up top, I’m not in any kind of danger. 🙂

I know there are plenty of you who are currently dealing with something very difficult. You might be wondering what’s the point in getting help if you’re going to have to fight against this all your life. You might think it’s easier to just give in. This is why we need to stop claiming permanent bondage to our current struggle. Get the recovery you need, and then live your life in a way that keeps you safe and/or distant from triggers (support systems, therapy, nutrition and exercise, new friends, deeper bible study, etc.). The first few months or so may be tough, but once you’ve found your footing, you’ll be dancing in your freedom for years and years to come.

2 Comments

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  1. I like this. I am in a very different place to you, just starting my journey of recovery but this makes sense to me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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