Eating Disorder Recovery Isn't Black and White


Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

Choosing to recover is never black and white. It is never quite as straight forward as it should be, in an ideal world. I sometimes find it difficult to fully commit to recovery. I’m constantly grappling inside myself and sometimes I don’t know what way I should be going.

It’s so hard to view the eating disorder as a bad thing sometimes. It’s what has always been there for me. Starving the pain away, exercising the hate out of me, counting calories and kilograms and stones and pounds so that my brain is so full of numbers I can’t hear any of the hateful thoughts or suicidal chanting in my mind.

My eating disorder protected me from having to deal with things I didn’t want to cope with. It gave me something to concentrate on, something to control in the swirling haze of life spiraling away from me. It became all I wanted, all I needed, all that mattered. It was my best friend.

I couldn’t see anything else.

I was so fixated on numbers that I didn’t notice my friends hurting. I completely ignored my family and how they were feeling desperate. I saw people trying to help and instantly pushed them away. It made me hate those around me who were trying to “interfere.” It caused me to self-harm as punishment for not meeting my own impossible demands. My eating disorder pushed me to attempt suicide when I felt like I had lost all control.

And it never — not once — made me happy.

It was only when I started to hate it when I realized I was stuck. I tried to escape, I struggled and everything went dark so I turned to what I knew as a way to cope and I lost more weight. Around and around this circle went and I was caught in a mess of gaining weight then losing it again. It felt like it was always one step forward, two steps back.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

Even now I struggle to think of anorexia as my enemy. I struggle with the constant longing to rush back into her outstretched arms and cry and ask her to make it all better again and fix me, fix everything. But I can’t. Not this time.

I can’t keep falling down over and over and over. I need to fight this. Not for me, but for those who have been fighting for me all this time. I can be better without anorexia. I’ll prove it to her.

And hopefully, on the way, I’ll prove it to myself as well.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Slavaleks.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anorexia Nervosa

a woman meditates on the mountain

Anorexia and Self-Acceptance: You're Whole as You Are

“You must learn to accept yourself just as you are.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard, read or thought a version of this statement in my recovery from anorexia nervosa. I believe it. I believe that accepting the whole of me — my strengths, my vulnerabilities, everything messy and human inside [...]
Mom and daughter embracing

When My Mom Blames Herself for My Eating Disorder

“I wish I could have prevented this,” my mom sighs. “I wish I had noticed the signs, or that your doctors had picked up on this sooner, or that you had confided in me.” We’ve had this conversation so many times. She berates the therapist who, despite my being a minor, never informed her about [...]
abstract picture of a woman

How Redefining 'Pretty' Helped Me Recover From Anorexia

The concept of “pretty” has puzzled me for some time. They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and yet it seemed that somehow everyone had agreed on what it meant to be pretty. I was led to believe that if one was pretty they would be successful, liked and most importantly, valued. [...]
woman writing in her journal sitting outside on a picnic table

Dear Anorexia, I'm Not Going to Let You Hold Me Back Again

Dear Anorexia, It’s been a year and a half, but somehow I still find myself thinking of you. Because even though you’ve left me, you are affecting so many other people. People who don’t deserve to have you in their lives. You treat them horribly. You make them question if they like themselves and make [...]