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What I'm Fighting for in Eating Disorder Recovery


I still feel guilty using the washroom after a meal. I’ll hold it until I get home.

Maybe I drank too much water. Or maybe I forgot to pee before I left the house.

But panic sets in. Even if my dinner date doesn’t know my story I still worry.

In treatment, you get used to supervision while using the washroom. Then your family and friends keep a close eye.

“Don’t shut the door.”

“Are you sure you really need to pee?”

When you get used to living a certain way for so long the feelings still rumble inside you.

Yesterday, I forgot my lunch. So I grabbed a sandwich.

I almost want to tell the person next to me how excited I am. Sitting at work like, “Look I’m eating a sandwich.

But being excited that you’re eating a sandwich usually celebratory. For me it is.

They’ll think, “What is your problem? You don’t look sick…”

I don’t look sick. In my mind, I never was sick enough anyways.

I step into a food court and take a deep breath. A warrior headed to battle.

Only the battle is my own mind and I’m trying to conquer lunch. Casually like the hundreds of people in suits and with shopping bags around me.

Numbers start spinning around. Numbers that don’t add up. Rules. According to who? Not according to me.

These days in recovery it is easier to run from this.

That is the easy choice. But I’m used to the discomfort. After over a year actively breaking my eating disorder’s rules.

I feel like cheering when it is over and I choose something.

Recovery warrior onwards.

Ebbs and flows.

 

Some days I am flowing and celebrating even when the war is still battling on.

Because I’m fighting.

I felt lame the first time I said that.

Fighting. What the hell am I fighting for? A life. To thrive and live without rules. To be authentically myself. Sensitive and all.

I’m talking because I know I’m not alone. I’ve had messages, phone calls, hugs and stories told.

And because we don’t talk about it enough.

And because every time we share we show up and give ourselves the chance to be seen and heard.

Eating disorders have swallowed me and spit me out many times. Maybe they have for you too.

Choose to get back up and keep going.

That is what recovery is to me.

The outside world may not see the battle. It is not always a sunshiny day filled with successes.

But the elation you feel when you overcome? It is so freakin’ worth the dark days and discomfort.

Let the light in.

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.

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Lead photo provided by contributor