Recovery and my Eating Disorder Demons

I’ve been asked a lot to write this post. No one really talks about their eating disorders very openly. Back when I had a blog in high school, I wrote a post about my struggles with an eating disorder. I was shocked at the amount of people who messaged me afterwards telling me that they too, struggled with an eating disorder. The fact is, a lot of people struggle with self image. So many people struggle, mentally, to get themselves to eat every single day. 

It’s hard to be this vulnerable, I’m not going to lie. But I think it’s a topic that needs to be talked about more often.

I had someone reach out to me a few months ago, asking me to write about my eating disorder recovery. They told me that they were currently struggling through their recovery and wanted to know my story. I could go on for days about my deeply rooted insecurities brought on by an insane desire to be continuously “healthier”. Or I could talk about how that desire to be healthier led me to slowly eat less and less food, hiding my disorder from my family and friends. I used to mask the fact that I refused to eat behind “allergies”. The moment I let go of those “allergies” was so incredibly freeing.

Recovery isn’t definite. I consider myself to be in recovery, and I think I’ll continue to be in recovery for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t say I’m recovered, I wouldn’t say that my eating disorder recovery is finished, that it’s gone, never to be an obstacle in my life ever again.

Recovery is something that you have to constantly work at. I can’t remember the last time I went an entire week without being painfully aware of every single thing I put into my body. Even though I don’t restrict on a regular basis anymore, those thoughts are still there. In fact, it’s the reason I’m still breastfeeding. An extension of my pregnancy. While I was pregnant, I ate for my son. It didn’t mean that it was suddenly easier, but I was no longer eating to keep myself alive, but I was eating to keep him alive. I know that if I were to start restricting every day again, my milk supply would drop and I wouldn’t be able to nurse my baby anymore.

That’s the thought that goes through my head every time I hesitate. Every time I find myself pushing back my mealtimes, telling myself I don’t need breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, I have my baby to anchor me and pull me out of those thoughts.

So, sadly, I wouldn’t say I’m recovered. I wouldn’t say I’m “in remission”. I’d say I’m “recovered”. The entire nature of an eating disorder constitutes an obsessive need to control my food and the way my body looks. I don’t know how to shut that part of my brain off. Recovery is something I’ll have to continuously work towards for the rest of my life.

I know this isn’t an inspiring recovery story. And I know it’s not encouraging. I wish there was a resolution to my story of recovery, but there isn’t. Not yet. I’ve never once in my life “forgotten to eat”. Every decision I make concerning food is deliberate. Which is why I deliberately ate lunch today, even though I didn’t want to. Even though my husband wasn’t home to encourage me to eat, I ate anyway. Because the moment I decided to skip the meal, was also the moment that my baby looked up at me and laughed. I ate for him. I know I won’t have that forever, but that’s what I have for now.

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