Looking back at the past year, especially the last six months, I can see that I am in a very different position. It’s surprising how much a person can change in such a relatively short space of time. But it can happen.
I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to escape from the dark pit I had crawled into whilst I spiralled downwards into the grips of an eating disorder which consumed every hour of my day and night. There was a lot of pain, a lot of suffering and a lot of sadness. And although it was, and still is sometimes, a struggle to get through each day, I can see that progress has been made; I am walking along the road to recovery.
There is so much about recovery that is new; food shopping, cooking and taking time to eat proper meals but also being happier, not hungry, not constantly worrying about burning calories through exercise and having time to relax. I’m finally fully realising what it means to be me. What it means to actually live, not to be controlled.
It was as I walked home after a busy day of lectures, seminars and reading that I was contemplating the amount of time it takes to properly look after yourself.
For example, shopping for food; thinking about what to buy and then actually going round the shop is time consuming, especially if you allow yourself to look at all types of food and not just those that you have labelled as ‘good’. If you actually look at the biscuits, the cakes, the bread, the convenience food, the desserts section.
Sometimes shopping fills me with anxiety; I’m buying food to cook and to eat, I have to be good and buy a range of things which is scary. It would be so much easier just to buy some fruit and vegetables and some ingredients to bake for other people with.
But, in the long term, it’s so much better to have a range of ingredients in the kitchen for when I want to be adventurous, when I want to cook a proper meal, when I need something quick. I may not want to shop but I am now aware of the benefits; it’s practical to go shopping, a necessity to be healthy and to keep progressing on the road to recovery.
Furthermore, cooking takes time and so does sitting down to eat what you’ve made.
It’s when I’m sitting in the library doing work and it gets to 12:30 or 1pm and I think, I should take a break for lunch now but then there are those other thoughts which say that I could just spend another thirty minutes here and get more work done, that I don’t need to bother with lunch.
But taking the time out, removing yourself from the working environment and refuelling, means that when you go back you have a better capacity to work and may be re-motivated. If you hadn’t had that break, if you hadn’t stopped to eat and rest, that wouldn’t have happened.
Even when you don’t feel hungry, even when you really don’t think eating will be beneficial, to ensure you keep moving forwards on the road of recovery you have to force yourself to follow a normal diet, to eat regularly. It’s hard, it’s a battle but it’s worth it.
Taking these small steps of going shopping every week and making sure you take breaks regularly throughout the day, to refuel physically and mentally, really helps with moving forwards. One step at a time will help say goodbye to the control and torment of an eating disorder, will help you to recover.