You still have to force yourself to do things in recovery. But they are more positive things compared to before. It’s when you aren’t feeling hungry but know that you need to eat because it is dinner time and if you don’t then you’re putting yourself at risk of slipping back into eating disorder routines. It’s when you don’t want to take time to relax because you need to reach your goals in your studies but you know that you need to because you’ll end up with no energy for getting through the rest of the day or week.
Sometimes there are days when I question the need to go food shopping; there will be food in the fridge still so it seems like it isn’t necessary to go and buy more food. Sometimes when I try to plan my meals for the week I’ll wonder whether I really do need to eat and make decisions so far in advance but it helps me to have already decided when the days arrive. And life seems to go better in general if I take time out to cook and eat, and shopping can give me ideas of what to cook.
Although I hate buying convenience food, although I can rarely bring myself to eat something I (or a friend) haven’t cooked from scratch, it does have its benefits.
After a trip to the hospital the other day I didn’t want to cook, there was nothing in the freezer which I had cooked previously that appealed to me so I resorted to convenience food.
Yes, it was only a crisp bake which isn’t, in my opinion, as bad as a bought ready meal like curry or pasta or pizza. And I did have a lot of peas with it, still conscious of ensuring I would get my five a day. But, for me, this was a big step; it showed me that I was in a very different position to where I had been six months ago.
And it’s at times like this when I wonder, ‘why?’
Why did I not let myself eat? Why was I so scared of consuming calories, so obsessed with burning them up during exercise? Why did I exact such control over everything I did?
It seems as if I have had a shift in my mentality; some days come and pass without a worry about what I am eating yet others see me panicking and worrying over eating anything outside of what I have planned and even then I can feel out of control. At those times I feel like I am in great danger of reverting back to where I was but I am scared of that place too now. It has too many horrible memories. Fortunately those days are getting less now but they do still come and they can still persist for a few weeks straight. And then it’s just a matter of persevering, forcing myself to eat three meals each day and keep my energy levels stable.
I can see now that it’s important to create a balance; between work and rest, between healthy and treat food, between putting effort in and pushing too far.
Recovery is a life long journey; though you can make it, there may still be tremors and days when you just don’t want to keep trying and caring.
Even so, from what I’ve been through and where I currently am, with what I allow myself to do, I can see that I have come a long, long way in a relatively short space of time. And I am proud of that but I know I couldn’t have done it alone, without friends and without God.
If you’re out there and you’re struggling with an eating disorder, whatever level it is at, I encourage you to take the first small steps to talking to someone. If it’s just a simple, evasive message to a youth leader or friend, it’s something. Its progress to getting your life back, reclaiming your mind and your body.
Whatever path you follow in life, it won’t be smooth. Not for anyone. There will be bumps and potholes, there will be broken bridges and blocked tunnels, but we just have to try out best to pick ourselves up, to find new ways of tackling life and keep going. It’s worth it when you achieve, when you get to experience things you never imagined would be possible, when you have amazing opportunities that only life can offer.