The Mighty Logo

The Hardest Thing I’ve Had to Accept in the Past Year of Eating Disorder Recovery

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 741741.

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week, and as with every other year, I come with a new perspective and something new to say.

I’ll be honest: I’ve had a few rough, relapse-fueled months, and I’m still working on climbing out of this hole I’ve been in, but I am thankful I’m not where I was a month ago or the month before that.

The truth is, recovery is hard; it is so hard, especially when, in our society, “you look so skinny” is the “best” compliment you can receive. We live in a society where dieting is healthy, and truly enjoying food isn’t; “Cheat meals” are scolded and restriction is praised. It is sad, but also so very real (and half the time we don’t even realize we’re a part of it.)

I don’t entirely know how I’m going to do it, but I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t be a part of that anymore. We all have different bone structures, unique genetics and we will never have the same body as a celebrity, or your best friend, or someone you saw walking down the street. This has been the hardest thing for me to accept in the process of recovery; I can’t change what my body is supposed to be without running it into the ground … literally. So, it comes down to: I can live my life chasing something I will never achieve, possibly killing myself in the process, or I can live. I can travel, I can try new foods, I can have birthday cake, I can go out to dinner with my husband and order dessert if I feel like it, I can be active without feeling like I am going to pass out, I can grow, I can be present; I can just be.

I can’t lie; I still miss my eating disorder pretty often, but choosing recovery is the only way I will ever have any shot at finding my way back to myself, or I guess finding myself for the first time ever outside of it. As of lately, I am enjoying being active in a healthy way for the first time ever. It is amazing what you can enjoy when you aren’t thinking about what you are burning off during it. I am learning to live; I am learning from my lapses.

I still have a lot to work on, a lot to learn, and many things to unlearn too. Recovery really doesn’t have a finish line, and I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but with each year that passes, I’m thankful I’m not where I was the year prior. That must mean I’m doing something right. I’m hoping, next year, I will have even more to share as I go on this journey of healing.

Image via contributor

Originally published: February 26, 2020
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