I know I just blogged yesterday, but I had an interesting conversation today about the idea of recovery, and I had some insights that I thought were worth sharing. Maybe I’m way off-base, but it’s worth a shot.

Often, when people share their stories of recovery, they talk about the motivation to change, that magic moment when they realize that things are awful and they want to make things better. WGT often says, “You can’t just white-knuckle recovery.” As much as y’all know I love and respect her, I have to respectfully disagree – conditionally. When I hear that “some part of you has to decide you’re worth something more”, I think of The Lorax:


If I had waited until I cared “a whole awful lot”, or felt worthy enough, I’d be dead right now. I never would have believed I was sick enough, was worth the food I was supposed to put in my body, or have been scared enough about dying to change.  My decision to start eating wasn’t based on any of that. I was sick of hurting people around me, and really didn’t want to go in the hospital again. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it on my terms, and I had a very small window in which to get my act together. Otherwise, I’d have no choice but to do it as an inpatient.

I white-knuckled it. I made the change by choosing to eat before each meal and each snack. It was torture, and the self-loathing was hell, but it was torture and hell starving to death as well.  I was trading one hell for another. The only difference was that this hell had a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. And, hey, if you’ve starved yourself down once, you can always do it again if this “recovery” thing doesn’t pan out, right?

I’m not suggesting, though, that white-knuckling it is the permanent solution. Here, I’m in agreement with WGT. Now that my weight is stable, and I don’t feel like I’m going to die every minute of every day, it’s really hard to find the motivation to keep going. Now is the time when I have to find something more. I have to learn to care “a whole awful lot”. My brain couldn’t have handled that while it was starving, though. It can barely handle forging new neuro-pathways now. Nonetheless, I’m doing it.

If you’re waiting for the right moment to make the change, it’s now. I’m not expecting perfection – just try. I hear you when you say you can’t. I understand. But if you’re waiting for the sign, this is it:


It won’t be easy, but it won’t get any easier the longer you let whatever it is you’re fighting go on. If, like me, your battle is an eating disorder, I’m not telling you “Just EAT.” What I’m telling you is to make one step towards change. Join a group. Find a therapist. Maybe add an apple to your meal plan. Just keep trying. Embrace your white knuckles until you can find something more.



Filed under Fighting Fear

6 responses to “Unless.

  1. Jamie

    I just wanted to let you know how *amazing* I think your entire blog is.
    After stumbling upon it in a strange way (a lot of the time I’m not even 100% sure how I have ended up the various places that I do on the internet) a few weeks ago now, I get overly excited when I get an email informing me of a new post. This was no different earlier when I saw that there was another post; two consecutive days? Incredible.
    The concept of this post was awesome, I don’t think you were off base at all thinking it was worth sharing. Your insights are always so clear, and come from such an honest place that they hit home in a way that doesn’t happen very frequently.
    So thank you for the inspiring posts and best wishes with everything!

  2. Hi Jamie, Thank you so much for your kind words. You just made my morning. Best wishes to you, as well. xo

  3. Love this Kelly. I agree with you, sometimes one has to force the change into motion at first. I read this great blog called Healthy Tipping Point and her idea is that small decisions everyday eventually add up to a healthy active lifestyle that you dont have to white knuckle every day. I think your theory could be applied to lots of situations. I love reading about your life Kelly. I’m so happy you’re sharing it.

  4. Ken

    Hi Kelly,

    Another inspirational message, bravo for you. I absolutely love your blog and wanted to share a very small bit of my story with you. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2008 and have been on a heck of a healing journey myself for the past few years. I have come to believe that many autoimmune diseases stem from a root of self-hate, or at least lack of self-love. One of the key themes of my blog is to try to get people to take baby steps forward every day to make the choices of love vs fear and to STEP into their greatness. My latest blog was about eradicating disease, and while I was writing it from a space of autoimmune disease, I find the similarities in what you’re doing on your journey to be many.

    You can find my blog at http://www.kenjaques.com, and I’m on twitter at @kenjaques. I even started using a hashtag #EradicateDisease to see if others have the same goals. I look forward to your continued inspiration,


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