“Recovery can mean spending all night planning your relapse but waking up and having breakfast anyway.”
*Potential Trigger Warning*
Sometimes it is good to take a step back and have a minute to reflect. About 8 months ago I was miserable. I had stopped eating entirely, was exercising compulsively and was told if I continued I could die. My bmi was not *critical* but the damage I was doing by completely starving my body meant I was in danger of my organs shutting down. This is the reality of Anorexia. I was introverted and isolated – convincing myself that this was MY choice not my disorder’s. Anorexia stole those months from me. Months where I could have been enjoying myself with friends and family, but instead I spent in a hospital bed crying over food and wishing this torment would end.
My other relapses have been similar. I spent the best part of second year in my room, at university or at work. I reached my lowest ever weight. My life revolved solely around food and exercise. Yet that year I attended every single university lecture and tutorial – immersing myself in the work and hiding away from the fact I was relapsing again.
The year before that I was told I would not make it to university if I continued what I was doing. However, I made it to university despite being advised against it and actually managed surprisingly well.
After each relapse, however, I regained the weight but continued using other behaviors to compensate.
Honestly it is hard to not look back at these times through rose tinted glasses. I often still miss my underweight body. And my mind regularly convinces me that I looked better and that I was happier back then. I often miss the control and security I felt while underweight but I am no longer blind to the sad existence it brings. I still struggle on a daily basis – particularly with accepting my new healthy body, but I have learnt to manage my thoughts and maybe at this moment in time that is the best I can hope for.
Since making the decision to recover properly – and believe me it is not an easy journey to choose to embark on – I have slowly but surely gained my life back. I have been on holiday, had nights out with friends, gone to restaurants and challenged my fear of food. I am brighter, happier and healthier. I have gone from the girl who would cry over an apple, hide her food and pour out nutrition drinks to the girl who just spent 2 ½ weeks on holiday eating out every other night. I have gained more than just weight that is for sure.
You see recovering from Anorexia is not solely about gaining weight. It is about learning to love and respect your body. It is about finding different coping mechanisms. But ultimately it is about making peace with yourself. People think it should be easy to choose recovery. But you do not choose recovery just once, you choose it every single day.