Healing – from the inside out or the outside in?

The colloquial phrase is “healing from the inside out” and people always say the inside matters most, right?

When it comes to eating disorder treatment, I have been told that I have to do the outside work first. I have to gain weight. I have to eat more. I have to get physically healthy so that I’m in shape to work on the emotional and mental stuff. Apparently, food is fuel so I was running on E and my brain was slow on fumes. Slow to process how messed up my perspective was and to understand that I was in any real danger.

So, I was 110 pounds in April. I started a daytime treatment program where I was forced to eat breakfast, morning snack, and lunch well past the point of fullness and under close supervision. After program each day, I went home and hardly ate. I’m not sure how they expected me to suddenly start eating. To be fair, I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. The recommendation was residential treatment (insurance disagreed, bless their hearts).

After three weeks, my insurance approved residential treatment and off I went. For six weeks, they stuffed me six times a day (three meals/three snacks). I did what I could to prevent gain weight and managed to only gain 6 pounds in those 6 weeks despite eating a ridiculous amount of food and not exercising.

I wasn’t ready to recover on the inside, so trying to fix the outside first was successful-ish. I now weigh 120.4 pounds as of this morning (no, I don’t want to talk about it) so supposedly I am not technically underweight anymore and my brain should be working better to help me deal with getting well. So, healing from the outside in? Maybe…

Healing from the inside out, though? When I started understanding what holistic recovery is all about and had my big breakthrough a few weeks ago, I started getting why it’s inside out. I began discovering who I am, what I believe, and why I am a life worth living. In this process, I have been more equipped to use skills and coping mechanisms and meet my treatment goals.

Healing. It’s holistic. Both inside and out.


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