I’m collaborating with some other writers in a blog series for the entire month of February. The theme is simple enough: reasons to recover. Special shout-out to Anne-Sophie over at Fighting Anorexia for starting the conversation that turned into this little project and for doing most of the organizing.
This post actually went up earlier this month and it got lost in the shuffle. So, better late than never! Today’s featured post comes from another UK-based writer, Sia Jane Loyd. She writes:
The day I chose to eat, was the day I chose to turn my life around. The day I chose to accept my body for what it is, is the day I chose to turn my life around. And the day I chose to let go of any remnants of this illness, is the day I fully recovered. Over the years I have written at length about how I personally define recovered life. I know there are a lot of sufferers who have their own interpretation of recovered, because let’s face it; anything is better than full engulfment in the illness. For me however, there are a number of distinct factors that incorporate being recovered. The obvious for me were weight restoration to a point of health, eating a healthy, balanced and varied diet, with no safe foods or foods I feared. There was then the social integration back into life, the letting go of compulsive and obsessive behaviours, sleeping enough, and finally, the living. A lyric speaks, we might all be alive, but not everyone lives. And that is the key to recovered life; the actual living. To look at me, talk to me, spend your days with me, you would never have thought I had a life threatening disease a number of years ago.
You can read her full post here.
She draws attention to a very important idea – though we may be alive, are we truly living? What does living mean to each of us? I often think of the years I was anorexic as years that were stolen from me. I should have been focusing on school, making friends, and developing relationships. The eating disorder ravaged my life and forced me to place everything else on as low a priority as possible without feeling like a complete failure. I wasn’t failing my classes, but I wasn’t doing well in them. I still saw my friends, but I felt like I was lying to everyone, smiling and assuring them I was OK, not unlike being in an abusive relationship and dreading the return home where things are so different behind closed doors.
It was easy to feel hopeless back then. I remember the first time I went to a support group, I heard people talking about recovery. I’d heard about it, but didn’t really have a good concept of what it consisted of. I almost thought I’d go to the support group, they’d tell me what to do, and I’d do it and get better, not unlike getting a prescription from the doctor for a cold.
I quickly realized that recovery from an eating disorder wasn’t going to be that simple. This could have been a discouraging thought, except for one thing: the people I met there had hope. They had an objectivity and peacefulness in their voices when they would talk about their struggles that was so foreign to me, and I wanted it.
That was my first moment of resuscitation – a glimpse of the life that could be if I committed to recovery with all my heart and mind.