3 Things That Happen In Recovery From An Eating Disorder

by Eden on August 26, 2013

Six years ago, I was diagnosed with “anorexia” (according to the DSM IV guidelines) when I admitted myself to an eating disorder rehab.

I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written about this issue and as I mature, I do find myself closer and closer to complete recovery.

I don’t even know if eating disorder recovery can be defined, however I’m pretty sure the process involves some of the following elements that I’m luck to have experience in the past few years:

1) I started to not give a shit

This started to happen a few years ago, when my dad was first diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

I was suddenly in the role of the parent. My dad’s life was now my responsibility. There was simply no room in my head to obsess over working out excessively or eating precisely the right amount of quinoa or whatever. My brain was preoccupied with anxiety over my dad that I just didn’t give a shit about food and exercise. It was a wake up call that life is too short to care about the mundane things like staying slim.

Even now, over a year after my dad’s passing, I don’t forget that my life itself is a terminal illness and that I can’t spend it obsessing over calories consumed and calories burned.

 

2) I Realized That I’m Already “Different”

I big component of my eating disorder was a desire to stand out. I was never exceptional at anything, and controlling my weight was something I was good at.

Mentally and physically, I stood out. I was “different”.

After gaining weight and letting some time to pass, I realized I was already different without a dumb eating disorder to differentiate me. The truth is eating disorders DON’T make you stand out. Cause you’re just like the rest of the other eating disordered people. Once you cultivate your personality without the disorder, you’ll realize how different and special you actually are. The eating disorder is a mask of your uniqueness. Take off the mask and you’ll realize you were special all along.

 

3) I Learned To Forgive Myself

I don’t “love” my body (and all those “love your body” campaigns make me gag a little).

(que gag worthy ad)

But I don’t hate my body either. I’m just content with it.

I don’t think I need to have a super strong opinion on it. Its just my veichle of living. I’m thankful I have a body to taking me where I need to go, a body that can digest food, swim, roller-skate, dance, or dare I say it, “twerk”.

(cue image that I’m sure will make you gag)

 

Maybe those “love your body” campaigns should turn he focus into learning to love the person inside the body as opposed to the body itself?

I don’t “love my body” but I’d say I’m pretty damn proud that I’m doing what I love, that I can share my experiences in hopes that it will help others, and that I can make a whole room laugh multiple times a minute. Call me egotistical if you must, but I think that’s pretty fucking awesome.

 

Who cares if I love my body?!

It took me a long time to love and respect the person inside the body, and that’s really all you need to escape an eating disorder.

 

Do you think there things that help you recover from an eating disorder or any other mental/physical illness? 

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen August 27, 2013 at 1:25 am

I gotta agree, loving myself, and I’m not referring to my body but to me as a person, was THE most important thing that had to happen.
Getting a pet cat was good too. Not the standard “cure” but having a pet there helped. As long as you don’t get a pet dog as an excuse to take walks, hehe.

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Cammy August 27, 2013 at 6:03 am

I found number 2 to be especially insightful; very good point. I think that’s a common challenge for people suffering from EDs, and the sad part is that sometimes the ED can be so consuming that it does tend to steal the person’s unique interests, talents, passions, etc. Getting those back should be a huge motivation for recovery.

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Gillian August 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

I love this. My divorce and some of the struggles I was going through even before the wedding sort of overshadowed my eating disorder and really reinforced the importance of emotional/mental health for me overall. This year my main focus has been to live a great fucking life and let my body solely be the vehicle for that, not something that holds me back or causes me to obsess.

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Anonm April 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

2 really, really stuck with me. when i was heavily disordered, i definitely thought that by being “”"broken”"” i was some kind of special, and same with self harm! it sounds almost dumb looking back, but my self esteem was low enough for me to believe it.

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