“I just can’t imagine my life without my eating disorder.”
“I feel like I’ll never get out of this endless cycle.”
“I will never recover.”
– words I’ve said to my therapist, countless times.
I have never spoken so openly about my eating disorder before on social media, and actually kept it up (not actually sure if this will stay up or not).
Neither am I going to write this post in such a way that it sounds magical, poetic, or extravagant.
No, I’m going to be real with you. As if I were talking to someone (because, in a way, I am).
Yes, I had an eating disorder.
It developed several years back, almost 3 years to be exact, but it flared up and intensified about a year and a half ago.
But I’m not here to talk to you about my eating disorder, I’m here to talk about recovery. can I safely say I’m recovered? No, I really can’t. It’s difficult to define what recovery is.
Does recovery mean when you’re weight restored? Or does recovery mean when you love yourself no matter how you look like? Or, is recovery plainly and simply… Unachievable?
Let me get this straight. Recovery is hard. There is still not a day that goes by in which I don’t beat myself up over my 10+ kg weight gain since I began treatment. There is not a day that goes by in which I don’t worry about calorie intake and calorie outtake. Granted, some days are a lot milder than others, but overall, there is still this voice in my head that tells me I’m not enough, which is why I cannot say I am recovered.
However, looking back over the past year and a half, I’m so much better. I’ve made so much progress, and that is what recovery ultimately is. A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I would be binge AND purge-free for so long. But hey, look at me!
Recovery does not go like this:
Enter treatment, get diagnosed, receive medication, cry, stop bad habits, voila.
Recovery goes more like this:
Get dragged into treatment, kicking and screaming, get diagnosed with something you didn’t even want to believe you had, be given medication daily to make sure you take it and swallow and not secretly keeping it in your drawer, crying almost every single night, therapy several times a month, lose your friends because you’ve got no time since you’re always seeing a doctor, cry every single morning when you wake up, slip up every few days, cry some more, slip up every few weeks, cry a lot more, gain weight, gain more weight, lose some weight, gain even more, slip up every couple months, cry some more, hate yourself, fight with the people you love, bad habits getting less often, but still occurring, hate yourself, cry a lot, bad habits becoming very rare. (lots of stuff in between). Happiness.
That’s all I can say at the moment about recovery since there is no single, definite ending to the recovery process.
What is the point of this post? I was thinking about it in the shower.
Recovery is not easy. It’s difficult.
It’s hard to deal with the weight gain. It’s hard to look at old photos and see it. It’s hard to hear people talk about it behind your back. It’s hard to hear people ask you about it to your face. But, do they know? Maybe not.
I know what it was like to feel like it would never end. I remember walking one day and thinking, it’s a disease that will never leave my body. It will always consume me.
But now I know that progress in recovery is completely possible.
One thing that really keeps me going though, is my desire to be fit. I love sports. I do.
Who cares about weight gain if when you flex you have abs and popping quads?
Are you afraid of people calling you fat? Well, they can’t.
Are you afraid of calling yourself fat? Well, you can’t either because you’ve got a six pack and can squat 100kg.
I’m not defining my goal body ^ to be when I finally reach the glorious yet ambiguous title of “recovered”. But fitness is my passion and its what makes me happy. And happiness is the key. (at least, in my opinion).
So, I’m aware my blog post has absolutely no structure whatsoever, and it’s quite ramble-y and perhaps a bit too “TMI”, but what I’m trying to say is.
If you’re about to go into recovery, or struggling with it. I want you to know.
1. IT IS POSSIBLE
2. There will come a day in which you will see how far you’ve come, and you will be proud because you never thought it would happen
3. You will slip up. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many many many many times. And THAT’S OKAY.
You will get urges. Lots of ‘em. Plenty. But you have to fight on, and push through. Because you are more powerful than food, and you are more powerful than your disorder.
4. YOUR DISORDER DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. It doesn’t have to be part of your biography. But your fight against it can, because it means you are STRONG, and you are HOLDING ON.
5. DON’T GIVE UP. Ever. You will feel like failing. You will feel like relapsing. You will feel any and every emotion possible and sometimes even all at the same time. But don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on the people around you, because they also want to see you better.
6. DON’T FOCUS ON THE WEIGHT GAIN. Even if it’s way higher than a “healthy BMI”, RELAX. When you have an eating disorder, your weight fluctuates a lot, and when you start recovery, maybe even more. Don’t sweat it (no pun intended). Stabilize your body weight FIRST and stabilize your eating patterns. THEN focus on healthifying your body and improving your composition… HEALTHILY!!!!!! Trust me, I know this first hand. I’ve been focused so much on my weight gain that I never even gave myself a chance to HEALTHILY lose weight – but it starts now (post on it later maybe?)
It is difficult. I know. If you need to cry, cry it out. If you need to talk, talk it out. (I am here also if you want to talk). But as number 6 said. Never, EVER, give up.
I think that’s all I need to say right now.
Hopefully it made a bit of sense.
****Side note – No. I am not here to “complain about how hard my life is” or to seek attention. I’m here to hopefully reach someone out there, struggling, and encourage them to keep on fighting for their life and health.