When You Don't Really Want Eating Disorder Recovery
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.
I don’t want to get better. My eating disorder has been my truth for so long, why would I want that to go away? He is the only thing that keeps me in control. He is the only one who is there when no one else is. He is the only one who numbs my pain. He is the only one. So, please, someone tell me why I would want to “recover” from that.
I mean, I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not addicted to drugs or sex or gambling. I don’t hurt anyone. So what could be so wrong about this?
I would love to write this in a more poetic or meaningful way, but if I am being completely honest, I want to be sick again. Let’s be clear though, I have made leaps and bounds in recovery. I no longer fall into a panic attack when going out to a restaurant and I don’t weigh myself multiple times a day (mostly because I am terrified to). But I can’t help but look back on myself, even three months ago, and envy the girl who looked sick. She was broken and exhausted, yes; but she was happy. I understand how sick and twisted that sounds – me wanting to be so sick.
You see, what people who have never had an eating disorder might not understand, is that it is a daily battle to recover. It is not something you wake up one day, look in the mirror and say “I’m ready.” You may wake up one day and realize how unsustainable your life is and plan to make changes, but that voice doesn’t just go away. He’s right there telling you what to do. Even if you are eating, he’s telling you what to eat and how much. He’s telling you what a disgusting pig you are for even looking at that food, let alone eating it. He’s telling you how worthless you are and that this is the reason you have no one but him. He’s telling you that this will be your life: waking up, thinking about breakfast, eating it, thinking about lunch, eating it, thinking about dinner, eating it. Nothing will ever be intuitive. He’s telling you that you will always have to justify to yourself eating a little, or worse… everything.
He’s not your friend, but he’s so understanding. He gets that you are lonely, so he tells you to binge. He relates that you feel horrendously fat, so he tells you to restrict. He is so sorry that you are bloated, so he gives you a handful of laxatives. He understands.
My eating disorder has become such a large part of who I am, that I can’t even tell my own thoughts from his. Am I really the one that feels fat every day, or is it him? I honestly don’t know. Even more than that, I don’t know if I am ready for recovery. I can tell you that some days it gets easier. I can also tell you that some days it feels like you are running a race against a cheetah — like you’ll never win. And it is so incredibly difficult to find hope in those days. The only thing I can do is look at myself, even two years ago, and know that I lived without this once, so maybe it is possible again. It’s hard to find hope, but at least I have memories of a better life and I believe that is enough.
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Thinkstock photo via Archiv