Firstly it is absolutely essential for me to say, that I do not pretend to write this as someone who has “recovered” from my Eating Disorder. To say that I have is both flippant and negligible and would be so unfair of me.
I’ve eluded already to the fact that my mental illness has evolved over time into a much deeper level of depression and anxiety that has left me overwhelmed by an emotion that I’ve struggled to comprehend. To think of recovery as a finished state is a little confusing- as a perfectionist I need something to strive for, to achieve but I don’t know what recovery actually looks like, how does it feel and what do I have to do in order to achieve it.
Recovery so far has certainly been a journey- and I hate having to call it that, it sounds like something a Big Bother evictee would say, but it has been the toughest 5 years of my life.
As my physical health deteriorated I was saved by the inpatient admission I received. Being left there however, broke my heart. Going into the unit I was passionate and committed to finding my self again, to restoring my world but it soon dissipated and I pushed against the treatment. Everyday I woke with more dread, more fear and more ambiguity at what I was doing- questioning whether this hell was really worth it.
Recovery in the community however is a completely different ball game, and comes with a whole new cascade of challenges- the comments of ‘you’re looking well’ the real life matters which can’t be avoided. But my time outside of hospital actually brought the moments which I recall with the most pride because they came from within.
I call it the Pastrami moment- the time where I just added the last slice of meat onto my sandwich, because what kind of crazy person puts the last piece of ham back in the fridge… I did it without thought for the effect on my body or size- that was a triumph.
The creme egg- I wrote about this at the time, because the taste of that chocolate was just incredible. This chocolate covered euphoria overcame me and the sickly sweet notes filled me with so much pride.
But these moments are of course juxtaposed with the times I became so scared that I threw porridge at my poor Mum and had to be chased around the village after I stomped off like a stroppy and selfish teenager.
What is so important however is that we all remember that recovery is a process and as such we have to let ourselves live it and process everyday with caution but also pride. Remembering that we have the right to time, to give ourselves the time to heal, hurt and recover the mind and the soul. There should be no pressure, no medal for the finish line of magic weight which for some distorted reason equates to recovery.
I don’t know when I will be recovered, I don’t know if it will ever happen. But actually I’m OK with that, because I am on the trajectory which is heading the right way. I have every bit of support I could possibly hope and dream for, family, friends and employers. I have plans for this year which are fuelled with excitement.
Will it be tough- Yes, Will it be worth it- Absolutely