Things no one tells you about eating disorder recovery.

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No one ever told me that recovering from an eating disorder would be easy... by that they were right. It truly is a mental and physical battle you are living in. While the rest of the world watches you like it is a walk in the park.

Over the past 7 years I have watched and discovered the amount of misconceptions and misjudgements made around eating disorders. This thing alone was one of the biggest things which prevented me from moving forward and recovering.

From the outside world looking in, we have an idea about what an Eating Disorder roughly is but what we think one is slightly differs from living with one. It certainly differs from actually recovering from one.

I wanted to write a post I guess to discuss and highlight some of the things no one tells you about recovery. Some of the thoughts, feelings and experiences you or your loved one may be going through. Things I didn't really realise myself till I wrote them down. 

Your hormones are all over the place. This was and still is one of the scariest things for me. Figuring out how to deal with hormones and welcoming feelings. During the worst part of my Eating Disorder it was like there was a switch which turned off my hormones and feelings completely. I felt nothing. Whereas when you start supplying your brain and body with nutrients again, you become aware of yourself and the world. Your hormones strike you like there is no tomorrow. Crazy emotions! One minute you can be happy and on top of the world, the next you are screaming at your boyfriend for turning the TV volume too high. You crave sex like never before but the next you can't stand yourself and want to hide away. Your head pretty much resembles being on the worlds fastest roller coaster with 100 ups and downs while it's pouring with rain.

Hunger strikes. Extreme hunger. Not just a little bit, but a LOT. You body isn't used to being fed and nourished, so it jumps into survival mode. It does not know when it is next going to be fed so to put it simply - it wants EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.  I remember when I first began to recover, some days I would eat and eat and eat and never be full! I was like a human hoover. It was the scariest thing on the world. For someone who dealt with binge eating also, I felt like I was constantly binging. I was full but I wasn't. Even at a healthy weight I still experienced it which is not easy when your mind is the biggest battle and telling you that you shouldn't be eating. 

The label, oh the label. The label is bloody hard to let go of. For years I was known as the girl with Anorexia. It was my identity and what I'd worked for. I was petrified of who I was without it, I didn't really know who I was without it. Even when I had gained back my weight, was healthy and happy, I still could not let go of the label. Creating and finding yourself as a person without it literally seems impossible.

You body often feels uncomfortable and weird. I remember my body just not feeling like my body anymore and yep, I felt uncomfortable 99% of the time, not going to lie. I felt like I was in a strangers body. One minute I saw one thing in the mirror and the next I saw something completely different. It wasn't just my body but the way I looked in my face, the way I moved, who I was. It is a strange feeling, like I had to create a completely different identity. I still struggle with this, it really is something I can't begin to explain.

Your mind is confusing as fu*k. Yup. I never ever understand the thought processes my mind puts me through. When I first started recovery, my mind drove me crazy. It was still in the 'anorexic' mode, as much as I was attempting to pull it out. It wanted me to be ill. It wanted me to be better. It wanted to see the scale go down. It wanted to make people happy. It wanted to ignore other people. It wanted food. It didn't want food. I just didn't know. I didn't understand it.

Sex isn't fun when you have to explain why your stomach looks like a balloon. Weird one but something I never thought I would find hard. Being intimate and physical in the bedroom is torture when you know you are going to be either in pain or dealing with extreme bloating. Your sex drive is coming back but you also know the guy you are seeing is basically going to think you are pregnant. It's a never ending battle!!!

Recovery doesn't have some magic 'end' point and there is no magic 'light'. I hate the idea and culture around recovery. I hate the idea that we all recover the same and one day it's just suddenly okay because that is not true at all. For a long time I was living believing that I would reach a point where I was just back to myself and everything was fine. Lets be honest though is anything a straight linear line? Nope. While I am a big advocate that you can beat this illness, I also want you to know that everyone's journey is completely personal and we get through things in different ways.

You choose to recovery every single day. Nope it is not easy and nope it does not just suddenly happen. You have to choose life over you disorder every day. You have to do sh*t you don't want to. You have to go through days you don't enjoy. 

Then you start to notice the tiniest things. The fact that you aren't freezing 24/7. You can leave the house without having to sit down every 20 minutes. You can genuinely smile. You can wash your hair without it falling out. You can stand without the world spinning. You can bounce out of bed or run around with your dog. It's the small things that make this whole bloody thing worth it. 

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