The Mighty Logo

What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

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’ve been in an inpatient unit for five months and many times psychologists have asked me, “What does recovery mean to you?”

I never really know how to answer this question. I find myself waiting for the “perfect” recovery to start happening like people expect. When I will just wake and think, “I’m just going to eat, this doesn’t matter to me.”

But the reality is, this probably won’t happen.

Recovery for me has been completely breaking down over eating an apple. This was my realization that I wanted to change. But I didn’t suddenly kick into gear and become better. Nope, that was five months ago and yet, I’m still struggling. That was my kick up the arse to try my hardest. I completed my meal plan and I gained some weight.

Recovery was eating cake on top of my meal plan because my dietician said I needed more to keep regaining. I fought hard over the cake, but eventually I gave in. Truth is, I’m glad. That cake is damn delicious whether I want to accept it or not.

Recovery is being told you will have to eat your first meal alone, but not giving in. I ate that breakfast, exactly how I was supposed to. My brain was screaming at me, “You could’ve gotten away with it!” But you know what? I’m only cheating myself.

Recovery is today, after five months of trying, eating my snack. Despite the fact I could have not eaten it. I know in my head what I need to do to “recover.”

Everyone who like me, is searching for that perfect “quick” recovery — stop searching. The recovery you are attempting right now is good enough. It’s about all the smaller, little wins that get you so much closer to your end goal — freedom.

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 Transfuchsian.

Originally published: July 26, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home