Person as Recovered
By an anonymous contributor
-my perspective/how does it feel to go through an eating disorder and see the other side…
Recovery is a long road, a winding rollercoaster with plenty of up and downs, twists and turns, but there are plenty of peaceful plateaus in which to focus on everyday life. I am still whipping through the dramatic turns and dives as I confront my past and find peace in my present. I am lucky; I have a wonderful child, a loving and supportive husband, and people that I can trust, including a support team. I know that others do not have this. Yet, I still need to ride the rails and learn to cope with the turbulence.
Just in the past couple of weeks I have had a couple of tragic life setbacks. Yes, they are the type of things that many others - with and without an eating disorder (ED) - hunkered down in their past, or present, experience. For me they are compounded by the personal crisis dealing with the emotional and practical issues that helped trigger and strengthen my EDs. At times the stress and anxiety can be too much to bear. While it is important to address those issues that triggered and helped nurture my EDs, it has been a difficult journey to finally reach the point where I am ready to work with my therapist to confront and process those sources - those memories.
This final big push to my long term recovery only started in the fall of 2015. For me it all started with a dream. (It is amazing the ways our minds and bodies operate when dealing with trauma.) It was hard to confront what the dream/nightmare revealed, but soon afterwards my physical aches and pains began to diminish. Looking back, I realize that a great deal of my medical issues, fatigue, and emotional struggles, were symptoms of these childhood traumas.
My negative relationship with food started when I was very young. By the time I was in middle school my ED was taking over, and by the time I was a freshman in high school I was hospitalized.
My family life was dysfunctional, and memories of sexual trauma and denial fueled my ED. With the memories of the traumatic experiences suppressed, I could not understand the negative feelings and behaviors I was experiencing. Yet now that I have begun to remember and process those ideas I am feeling better - emotionally and physically. Recovery is a real thing. It is obtainable.
During the height of my EDs’ reign, I could go two weeks without food or water. While I still at times need to eat robotically with not much thought or enjoyment going into it, now I listen to what my body needs and I eat what I need to keep my body healthy. I am rewarded by feeling better adjusting my diet to fit the needs of my body (i.e. increase my omega-3 fatty acids) when dealing with inflammation and drawing out the lactic acid with a couple shots of vinegar to deal with muscle pains.
While in the throes of my ED’s influence, I would purge to save myself from the possible harm I may have done by ingesting food. Yet now I realize that the opposite was true and the food helps me do the things I love. Play/work hard and eat well. I am beginning to enjoy eating.
While I still have a long way to go to reach internal peace, my self-harming behaviors are in my past, as I have replaced them with alternate ways to deal with continuing struggles to come to terms with my past, make sure that I have a firm foothold in the present, and discover my potential future.