Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

“I don’t have an eating disorder.”

I have uttered those words so many times in the past 4 years.

“I am not sick. I am not thin. I don’t need treatment. These is nothing wrong with me. I am fine, fine, fine, fine, FINE.”

Even after multiple hospital admissions due to complications from my disorder, even after starting treatment, i was still in denial for a very long time.

“I don’t have an eating disorder. I just have “food issues.””

In fact, it was not until my second year of treatment that i was able to admit to having an eating disorder. It was not until then that i could say those words & not feel like a fraud.

My thoughts last year, had been to finish up with treatment in December, just before the holiday break. Therapy had been going incredibly well & i had made a lot of progress, & my psychologist was also about to resign. My ED behaviours were under control, & any lapses were only momentary. My life was not lived according to the rules devised by my disorder, & i felt ready to pursue the next chapter of my life & my recovery on my own. Things came up however, & i felt rather overwhelmed – my biggest, & really my only lingering trigger for ED behaviours – & although i had stopped seeing my psychologist, i continued my connection with my dietitian.

Yesterday i met with my her for the first time this year – it had been 5 weeks since we’d last met. Those 5 weeks had been challenging for me in many ways, but not overwhelming. I had managed to navigate my way over, under, around, & through any challenges that had popped up, & i had resisted any urges to return to my disordered behaviours. I had enjoyed blogging here over the holiday break, & it had helped to keep me afloat during those challenging moments. It was not an easy time, but i got through it – the wonderful story of my life these days! πŸ™‚

When we met yesterday, keeping in mind my progress, & my thoughts on finishing treatment, my dietitian asked me what i would like from our sessions – what did i need? Where to from here? It was a simple question for me to answer, & a joyous answer to give πŸ™‚

“It might sound funny, because i guess i have known this for a long time, but it hasn’t really hit me until now… But i really do know what i am doing with food now. I know what foods make me feel energised & strong. I know which foods don’t. I know how much i need to eat to feel good, & how frequently. I know what it’s like to feel hungry, &Β  satiated, & i can respond to those cues – the way i eat now is determined by how i feel, rather than a set of ridiculous rules.Β  And i found myself thinking, “What else is there? I don’t think there is anything else.””

She agreed wholeheartedly with me, & with that we decided to meet once more, in a month, & if all is well to say our goodbyes πŸ™‚

I have come to realise over this holiday break (& again, it sounds somewhat strange, even to me, that this realisation is only just “hitting me” now), that i don’t have an eating disorder. I am well & truly in recovery from an eating disorder.

I am no longer afraid of food. In fact, cooking & eating food is one of the greatest joys in my life! Most people i know would not hesitate to call me a “real foodie!” – a claim that is undeniably true yet equally shocking, for those who know of my past. In fact, it is true, that i have now discovered a freedom around food, that many of my friends & family are yet to acquire for themselves. Most of the time, i am able to eat very intuitively, eating what i want, when i want it, & trusting my body to balance everything out – i eat for enjoyment as well as nourishment. I love cooking & sharing food with others, & i love trying new foods. I. Love. To. Eat. πŸ™‚

I am also incredibly accepting of my body now. Sure i have days where i look at myself in the mirror, & my eyes zone in on my thighs or my tummy, & i find myself thinking “My thighs are so fat. My tummy is so bulgy. I would look so much better if i lost a little weight”. Sure i have days where i feel utterly miserable based on whether or not i can fit comfortably into my jeans. But these thoughts & feelings now rarely dictate my behaviour – they don’t dictate how much i eat, how much i exercise, or whether or not i can leave the house. They don’t dictate my worth as a human being, as a friend, as a sister, as a daughter… I am lovely, & i am loved, & those things do not change in relation to my jeans size πŸ™‚ It is now much easier for me to resist the urges to manipulate & reduce my body’s shape & size, because i know that those things have no bearing on who i am as a person – i know that what i look like does not make me any more or any less of a remarkable human being, & my self worth is no longer tied up in my appearance & my ability to manipulate it.

After 3 years of treatment, i am now able to say “i don’t have an eating disorder”. I can say those words & know deep within myself, that these are no longer words of denial. They are not a denial of my current state of health, nor are they though a denial of my past. I don’t have an eating disorder, but i did suffer greatly with one in the past. There are still some lingering symptoms & signs – the way restriction still pops into my head as an option when i’m feeling overwhelmed, the lingering digestive issues that my body & i are still working on healing, the struggle i have to moderate my level of activity…. But i do not have an eating disorder. Today, no words have ever felt truer than “I am in recovery.” πŸ™‚

(Images via: We β™₯ it.)

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Comments on: "I Don’t Have An Eating Disorder" (10)

  1. I am so very proud of you and this journey that you’ve travelled. You are an amazing woman and you have come so far and continue to dazzle and amaze me every day.

    • Thankyou so much sweetheart, for your constant & unwavering encouragement & support over the years we have journeyed together πŸ™‚ You are a truly beautiful person & i am so deeply blessed to have you in my life.
      Despite the oceans between us, your words of love & kindness lift my spirits high, encourage my self-belief, & inspire me to seek out that lifeinfullcolour πŸ™‚ You remind me of my value. You remind me that i am loved.
      Your own journey has taught me much, & i am so thankful to have you share some of your travels with me πŸ™‚
      Much love,
      xxoo

  2. imaginenamaste said:

    your post is absolutely beautiful.

  3. Siren Rising said:

    It’s so wonderful to read you’ve reached such a place of happiness & freedom.
    What I think is most poignant about your realisations, is that you made them yourself. Very often when we’ve made progress or changed or achieved something, it’s apparent to those around us- but we’re the last to notice. And that’s not even touching upon the way in which Eating Disorder’s distort perception.

    But I think that only adds to how important it is to make these sorts of realisations yourself. It marks that not only are you aware of how to take care of yourself & eat well, but that you know you’re worthy of nourishment, mind, body & soul. And this is when you really know, that yes, you are indeed in recovery.

    • I agree – i think that knowing how to nourish ourselves is only half the battle. The other half is believing that we deserve that nourishment.

      I feel so blessed to have reached this stage of recovery, where i can not only recognise my need for nourishment, but know deep down that i deserve that nourishment, & allow myself to fulfil those needs πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments πŸ™‚

  4. Ok, so I’m crying reading this post because I’m so proud of you. You have come so far. You are so inspiring. I remember a few years ago, a very angry, pale, tired young woman who came knocking on my door. Those few days you stayed were absolutely horrendous – mainly for you. I could see just how tortured you were and just how strong that shitty, nasty little gremlin in your head actually was. And now when I see you, I see a beautiful young woman with so much love to give and so much hope for the future. You are fantastic. You exude love, light, laughter and hope. I am so, so, so proud to consider you one of my dearest friends.
    xx

    • My dearest, darling Ella,
      You have been the most beautiful & dear friend to me. You invited me into your home, & you nourished me, not only with food, but also with love, with kindness, & with hope.
      You sat with me, when noone else could see value in sharing their time. You held my hand when i needed something steady to hold on to. You hugged me when i needed to be surrounded by love. You did not let neg boss you around, but you tried not to antagonise him either, knowing the pain & torment that could cause me. You were firm & persistent. You didn’t give up on me.
      I love you with all my heart & i am so very thankful you have you in my life. You inspire me greatly, & i have nothing but admiration & respect for you πŸ™‚
      Love you muchly,
      xxoo

  5. …you are frankly amazing. I don’t even know what to say to you. This is Sofia Benbahmed – I came here after looking at my page after getting off of the phone with my mom. What is your name? If you want to add me on facebook or something I’d love to get your address to mail you some flowers or a thank you package or letter. Just, thank you. For your recovery, your help, your light.

    • Beautiful, darling girl,
      You are so very welcome & thankyou for your message πŸ™‚
      If you would like to email me, i would love to keep in touch πŸ™‚
      Keep fighting my dear – you are worth it πŸ™‚
      xxoo

      P.S. I have also just shared your story here πŸ™‚

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