Eating Disorders

On Relapsing (and picking yourself back up)

Bad, Good; It's Hard to Tell--A Zen Story About Mindfulness | Libero Magazine 1

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It crept up on me. It started with being so busy that I forgot to eat lunch one day. I thought to myself, ‘this is what normal people do – normal people sometimes are too busy to eat’. Then the next day I was ‘too busy’ again. Only this time the thought was, ‘normal people skip meals sometimes…besides, not eating isn’t all that bad’.

By day three I was purposefully skipping meals, but still ignoring the reality: I was relapsing.

I didn’t come to terms with this fact until I was at coffee with a friend on Friday night. We were discussing my relationship with ED and she asked me to always be honest with her regarding where I am in my recovery.

At that point I realized I wasn’t even being honest with myself.

I took a deep breath and then…

“Right now I am starving because I haven’t eaten since breakfast, and I have no interest in eating anything.”

It was out.

As soon as I said the words, my relapse became a reality.

and I became incredibly concerned, not for my health, but for what this meant. I started thinking of all the people counting on me, all of the people who thought I was recovered, all the people applauding me for my progress, and all of the people who see me as a sign that there is hope.

I was letting them down….At least this is what I thought.

I didn’t want to blog because I felt to do so would be hypocritical – I didn’t want to carry on writing as though everything was OK, but I also didn’t want to admit to my struggle, see, along with ED I had also given in to another dark power: pride.

When I got back from my mini ‘retreat’ to Africa, I felt like superwoman – I had kicked ED to the curb. I had overcome my addictions. I loved myself. I loved the way I looked. I didn’t need anyone. I couldn’t be stopped by anyone and if people didn’t like the new me, that was their problem… In short, I was a bitch.

What I didn’t realize was that ED was using this pride to further strengthen his hold on me.

As long as I was too proud to admit my weakness and I was too ‘independent’ to lean on anybody else, he had me in his grasp once again.

I was miserable. I was passionless. I felt so hallow, so empty and completely depleted. All of my excitement for life had dissolved – I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually dried up. I wandered through the day lifeless, as though I was in a trance, like a zombie.

And yet despite my misery, something inside of me didn’t want to let ED go. I was talking with my good friend and I admitted to her that I had let ED back in once again. She asked me what I wanted, what her and the rest of my people could do for me this time, to which I replied, impassively, “I am anorexic again. I don’t want to stop and I want all of you to get out of my way and let me be.”

What could she say to that?

As I walked away hard-hearted and lost, she called out to me, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

I did too…

And then something beautiful happened. As I was driving I saw ED walking down the street. By this I mean I witnessed the injustice that is taking place due to him and his lies. It was in that instant that I realized that this has got to stop; ED has got to be stopped. He has had far too much power for far too long and I was sick of it. In that moment I made a vow to myself:

I am going to fight back and I am never going to stop fighting again.

I have had it with ED and his lies and as far as I’m concerned he can go to hell because that’s exactly where he belongs.

Today I ate three full meals. I didn’t even have to force them down – I wanted them and I could feel ED cringe and slink away with every bite that I took. Who’s laughing now?

I have decided to make a commitment to the people closest to me that I will never stop fighting and that I will not let ED destroy me. Even if along the way I skip a meal, even if I relapse, even if it seems like the hardest thing (which often it does) I am not going to give up!

As for the question of full recovery, there are those who believe that ED will always be hiding in our closets no matter how far we get in recovery.

As for me, I believe that full recovery is possible and I am committed to being a living example of this.

I want you to know that I am still in this, I am still fighting ED and I am still facing inner battles. I also want to say that I am making a commitment to you that I will always be honest about these battles because I believe that it is through admitting our weaknesses that we find the greatest strength.

Yes, this week I relapsed and maybe there will be more relapses to come – I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t have it all figured out, but I am not going to give in to ED, I have weaknesses, we all do, but I believe that I will get through this, we will get through this.

Together we can be free.

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Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.


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  • >You go girl!! You should be so proud of yourself for having the strength and commitment to your recovery to pick yourself up after a relapse! I too believe that full recovery is possible. You're right that you can do this- we all can. Thank you for your honesty and insight- it is inspirational, and I think it is so crucial for all of us in recovery to share our stories and learn from each other. 🙂 I came across the link to your blog on Jenni Schaefer's facebook page and am now following your blog! I have a recovery blog as well: up the good work and stay strong!

  • >Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I will definitely read your blog – I think it is great for us to all share our journey's and experiences with one another!