Eating disorder recovery is possible and it’s so worth it. But what does recovery really feel like?
You may not have the same problems of the past, that devil always on your shoulder has finally been put in its place. But why is there still that nagging feeling that you’re still not fully recovered?
Our old devil gave us control, allowed us to strive for perfection in a seriously imperfect, uncontrollable world. So even though the thing that was controlling us is gone, we are left with no control of our own. Our mind’s safety mechanism has been slowly caverned until we feel hollow. It’s tempting to fill ourselves back up with the lies of restricting, exercising for that high, and cutting ourselves off from everyone around us. But we’re recovered, so we can’t even fill ourselves back up with that.
We may be rid of those voices, but we haven’t accepted the beauty of living without control. We have let go of the hurt, but we haven’t embraced the new life. We’re caught in the middle, unsure of which steps take us forward and which steps send us tumbling back. We want more than just recovery but we don’t even know what that means.
To live intuitively. To hear your body when it says, “I want a hamburger WITH fries AND I’ll take that cookie my mom baked (because she’s amazing)”. But also to hear my body when it says, “I want that broccoli with chicken and I’ll skip the cookie” because I love the way healthy foods make me feel, not how they change my weight. I will listen when my body just wants to lie on the couch for an hour more than I would have ever allowed before. I will listen when my body ACTUALLY wants to run. I will listen when it just wants to walk. I won’t panic when I’m unsure what I want, when I feel alone, when I feel like “fully recovered” isn’t possible. I will breathe and I will let go and I will talk to someone, love on them, and believe in forces greater than my own ability. I will let myself cry and shake and scream because life is hard and I’m fragile. I will let myself have allies not only because I have people who love me, but also because we need each other more than we will ever know.
Full recovery is a smile on your face for no reason, laughter even when the world around you is falling apart, and sporadic, unplanned, uncontrolled adventures with people you love and who love you back. It’s sitting, being quiet, and loving the simplicity of life. Full recovery is going to class, scrambling for time to eat, yearning for one more hour of sleep. It’s an adventure of small steps, smaller detours, and great journeys full of life that has been recovered.