Learning to 'Live Again' During Eating Disorder Recovery
There’s this weird and awkward point throughout the recovery process where you learn to just live.
This is where I’m currently at. The constant battle of staying out of the hospital and fighting with doctors etc. has ended. I am in school full time, 50 or so days from a graduation I never thought was possible, interning and working. I am living the “normal,” repetitive predictable life which I never thought was possible for myself.
I think this is one of the harder points in the recovery process. When things are in crisis there is always something to do to continue to progress, a tangible goal to stay on track — meal plans to focus on, a million appointments to fit in. But this place of stability feels almost more out of control to me than being in crisis. I am still constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop, and historically, just thinking of waiting for it has caused something to go awry. But right now I am coping, I am talking about my feelings in therapy, I am showing up to session ready to do the deeper work that has kept me in this endless cycle for what feels like forever, and that is different.
“Effective” spontaneity (i.e. recovery focused) is something I have always struggled with. But as of right now, I am saying “yes” to things I would never have considered historically; I am slowly but surely learning to have fun again. I am also giving myself time to rest and regroup. I am on spring break right now and instead of spending the entire break working on schoolwork, trying to get ahead of things, I am attempting to sleep in, spending time with friends and family and giving myself a break for once. Going full steam ahead and giving 200 percent of myself is a trap for me. It’s something that ultimately leads me back down a familiar path I am trying to avoid now.
It may have taken me many years, but I think I am finally learning how to live in recovery. It’s new, different, unfamiliar, somewhat scary and amazing, all at once. These are the moments and experiences that the eating disorder robbed me of that I am slowly but surely gaining back for myself.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
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Unsplash image via Christopher Campbell