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This month’s focus is on questions we are asked. One seemingly simple, yet very complex, question I have gotten is if I am recovered from my eating disorder.
I get this question, in different forms, both from other people with eating disorders as well as everyone else. The answer is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no.
Before I can answer that question, it is important to look at what recovery is. This is a question I asked myself many times in my recovery, and I think it means different things to different people.
For the longest time, I really didn’t know what recovery meant to me. I used to think it meant I would have no fear foods, no thoughts of nutritional value, and be back to the person I was before the ED. I have come to realize this isn’t what recovery is, at least for me.
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For me, recovery is being happy with myself.
Do I think about nutrition every once in a while? Sure. Do I feel bad about my body at times? Occasionally. But none of these things consume me or have any lasting effect on my emotions any longer. In other words, the thoughts that once consumed me completely now have little to no effect on me because I know my value as a person is based on so much more than an eating disorder or anything related to it.
I am grateful recovery isn’t a complete return to the old me. Even though going through an eating disorder was hell, I am a better person than I was before, and I learned so much. And when you think about it, isn’t that the kind of recovery you want?
“Is recovery possible?”
This is another question I asked myself so many times, and I am sure many of you have asked yourselves as well. When I thought of recovery as a complete return to my old self, the answer to this question was a lot less clear. I knew people spoke of it, and I wanted it to be possible, but I just couldn’t see myself ever being free from the thoughts that overwhelmed me.
I struggled moving forward not knowing if the type of recovery I envisioned was possible.
I came to realize that recovery, for me at least, means simply an absence of the eating disorder.
It means growth as a person. To be honest, I am not sure if this type of recovery is possible or desirable, but I know for certain that recovery, as I see it, is. So the answer to the question “Is recovery possible?” is a resounding yes!
So back to the main question: “Are you recovered?” I can say absolutely. It definitely isn’t want I thought it was going to be–it is much greater. No, I am not the same as before my eating disorder. No, I am not free from ED thoughts 100% of the time, but I am happy, I am stronger, and I am recovered.
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