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Eating Disorder Recovery Isn't Black and White

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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.

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.

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Thinkstock photo via Slavaleks.

Originally published: March 14, 2017
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