The Process of Healing from an Eating Disorder

Wounds don’t heal overnight- the healing process takes time, sometimes much longer than we would like. For so long I have found myself trying to force my wounds to heal by placing a band-aid on them and acting like they are no longer there. While the band-aid may make the wound appear as though it has disappeared, the infection has not gone away—it still lies underneath the skin. The only way to truly heal the wound is to leave it exposed—to allow the healing process to take its course. This involves experiencing some of the greatest feelings of pain that one can endure; however, the end result is that the pain will subside. Imagine pouring hydrogen peroxide on an open wound. As the peroxide hits the skin, the greatest pain imaginable takes a toll on the spot to which the peroxide is poured. All the feelings of pain and fear arise from the wound as bubbles. The bubbles grow larger and spread over the entire wound; however, they eventually grow large enough until they begin to pop. As the bubbles pop, the pain begins to subside and a feeling of relief takes place. The pain must be experienced in order to feel the relief. The most painful part of the healing process has occurred, but the healing is still taking place. While the exposed wound continues to heal, it may be re-infected by negative thoughts from the past or old feelings of inadequacy or imperfection. Healing from an eating disorder is a process—the wound may need to be doctored with peroxide again in order to remove a new infection or a dormant infection that has reappeared. This is okay—while the old band-aid simply covered up the wound from the eyes of the beholder, the hydrogen peroxide healed the wound by exposing all the impurities and removing the underlying infection. After the would heals, what is left is a scar. The scar serves to remind the one inflicted with the wound of the battle fought and won, yet not forgotten.