Why I chose recovery
I wish I could write this and say that I completely chose recovery on my own. But the matter of the fact is that I really had no choice. It was either recover, or spend my holiday in a hospital bed, being force fed and not allowed my freedom.
And while there still is that eating disorder head of mine encouraging me to lose more weight, the real me knows that my life would absolutely suck if I did. I knew that if I did not choose recovery, I may not have a future. Whether that be at University, having a family or, to an extreme point, even living. So, one evening I sat down and a wrote a list of the reasons why I should pick recovery. Here are a few:
· To eat without guilt and rules
· To enjoy a cocktail with friends
· To go on a night out without stressing about drinks
· To go out of the house without the worry about food being involved
· To grow back thick and healthy hair
· To stop being constantly cold
· To sit on my kitchen chairs without needing a cushion
· To enjoy going to restaurants again
· To engage fully in conversation without thinking about food.
· To have my energy back
· To get my periods back
The list goes on, and on, and on.
I finally came to the conclusion that life is more than my eating disorder. That it is not worth wasting my life away just because some stupid voice in my head is telling me to. I realised that a life with an eating disorder is not really a life at all and that if I continued what I was doing, I eventually wouldn’t have a life to own.
But most importantly; the reason why I can find the motivation, I want to recover for my friends and family. So that they, as well as I, could get the girl back that I used to be.
I want to recover so that one day I can share my story in hope to help anyone else who may be struggling. I want to be there on the other end of the phone, like many people who have been for me, to help and give advice. I want to spread awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders as unfortunately they can, god knows why, be an illness that is glamourized and thought of to be something that they’re not. People tend to forget that eating disorders are not ALL about food. They are a mental battle that interferes with so many other areas of your life. Your social life. Sex life. Family life. Your ability to have your own family. And this is all information that I want to share.
I knew that recovery would be difficult. But I knew it wouldn’t be as hard as living with a mental illness for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I had only been having issues with food for around 2 years (and showed physical signs for about 9 months) so I knew that my behaviours were reversable. That whatever I had wired in my brain could be un-wired.
And, I am not writing this as a recovered anorexic. I havegotten to a stage where I am now on my way to weight restoration and I don’t necessarily look ‘ill’ anymore but that does not mean I am recovered. I still have bad days. I still have the urge to have a tomato for lunch or go back to my old anorexia habits. I still fight the urge to punish myself with exercise or purging. I still get upset. And to be completely honest, I still want to punch people in the face when they talk to me about diets and exercise.
In fact, this stage is the hardest. Because you no longer have the evidence (and by that, I mean physical evidence of anorexia) to justify your eating disorder. People won’t look at you the same and understand that you have this illness as you may no longer fit that stereotypical image. I cannot stress enough that people do NOT have to ‘look like they have an eating disorder’ to struggle with disordered eating. People forget that this is a mental illness which takes a while before bodily symptoms show. With most physical illnesses, as time progresses and treatment takes place, it becomes easier. However, with eating disorders, particularly anorexia, it becomes harder, as you no longer have your physical appearance of ‘an anorexic’ to hide behind.
Despite all this, I have made massive improvements. I can eat with a normal sized spoon again (sounds stupid but that’s a massive accomplishment for me). I can taste pasta to see if its cooked. I can, most of the time, eat without stupid rules around it. I have come such a long way and I know it is only going to get better.
So, the thing with eating disorders, is that they do not give. All they do Is steal. Steal your ability to have a drink with a friend. Steal your ability to be honest with your family. Steal your ability to love those around you. Steal your ability to eat at your favourite restaurant. Steal your ability to eat without rules and restrictions. They steal, and steal, and steal until eventually, it steals your life. I think that says it all.
Eating disorders are not a choice but choosing to recover from one is.