Eating Disorder Recovery: What It Looks Like & Means To Me
What is recovery and what does it look like? A big question with a multitude of answers. Back when I was with Ed, someone asked me that question and I responded by saying “I have no idea what recovery looks like, I’m not even sure it exists.” Well, I am here to tell you recovery DOES exist and it can be yours. Just like the process of it, recovery looks and is different for everyone. I am aware of some individuals that define their recovery as being behavior free, others I know define it as a daily process they must get through, others define it as freedom, others define it as growth and so on and so on. I can say, from personal experience, that recovery changes as you get stronger and find your voice. One thing is for sure, recovery is not static; it’s always moving. For me, I always tried to look at it as form of growth and transformation.
Not only is everyone’s recovery and process different, some people have the thought and/or opinion that being “recovered” doesn’t exist. During my recovery, some people had the opinion that I would just have to learn to live with my eating disorder in a functional way. I didn’t accept that answer. So, with hard work, commitment and patience I did fully recover, and it is beyond amazing! Being “Recovered” does exist! You might then ask, what does “being recovered” look like? Well, I’m sure every person would answer this differently, but for me being fully recovered is a life of pure freedom. I live with no rules or behaviors with or around food. I have no guilt or shame associated with food or my body. I love myself and my body. Ed doesn’t speak to me anymore. I take risks. I have a voice and use it. I don’t own a scale, don’t know my weight, and I am proud of that fact. I can eat anything I want. I can shop for food and clothes without stress and anxiety. I am not afraid of feeling feelings or expressing them in a healthy way. I am social and love to laugh. I love to discover who I am and am proud of it. I practice self-care—a lot—without guilt. I can say No. I am healthy and strong. I am happy. I make and achieve my goals and so much more. I have a saying which is: “Ed takes and Recovery Gives.” The possibilities are endless.
If I were to ask you what does your recovery look like and how do you define it, what would you say? Think about it for a bit and remember, we are all unique and each definition is as well. There is no need for comparison nor is there such a thing as perfection. Sit, think and define your recovery for YOU. Only you know what it means and only you have the power, control and choice to nurture it and watch it grow. Everyone’s definition of it may be different but one thing is for sure. Recovery from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia does exist!