I suppose I am supposed to be saying I'm "in recovery." A year out of the hospital - enough time for things to turn around and go either way, I suppose. As it is, I am so much better than I was in that I eat something every day. On the other hand, it's far, far from "normal" (whatever that may be), and I can't tell you what triggers me to restrict because I restrict ALL the time. So - if I'm "in recovery," is this it? As far as I can go? How do you get out of the rut, when it's comfortable in there?
I just started reading "Lying in Weight". The book mentions that some classify "recovery" as when a person doesn't engage in ED behaviors for eight weeks straight. However, the author seems to disagree as there is a high rate of relapse.
I know right from wrong and I like to say I'm in recovery. However, it seems that I can only go days or weeks before the restriction restarts. Just about anything triggers. From arguements with my husband, errors at work, comments from my mother, missing a day at the gym, depression or anxiety, me misintrepreting situations which lead to feeling inferior, it doesn't take much and I'm back to start.
For me, recovery is a full time job to focus on regaining healthy behaviors with food, and not focusing on 'numbers' or using food for emotional reasons. It also means not engaging in purging, restricting, over exercising, etc. All ED behaviors have to be consciously in a state of being stopped....it's a process, not an event, and can take years to be able to eat a plate of food. But, you don't have to do it all at once. Little steps are fine- and still keep you moving forward.
Being healthy is a goal that supercedes weight.
And hopefully, you won't have permanent damage. My body will never be the same. It's day by day that I even can plan to do anything. I don't engage in ED behaviors, however, some of the meds I take for other disorders cause loss of appetite (documented side effects) and I have to make an effort to remember to eat. I"ve had to put my own nose tube in for supplements.
If I could exchange a healthy body, for an extra 50 pounds (which I don't need- and am technically overweight), I'd do it--- health is a gift. And it's precious. I've blown that with EDs. And for what? Nobody else cares what I look like- I'm still me, no matter what I weigh.
Full recovery is a work in progress, at least for me. I stopped engaging in all ED behaviors years ago--restriction, purging, overexercising, refusing to eat certain foods because of the calorie content (face it, there are foods you refuse to eat with the ED that you genuinely do like but keep pretending not to want it), laxatives, diet pills, etc., etc. As far as physical recovery, I've been in that since late 2000.
The mental recovery is what is I'm still working on--accepting my body image and not being too disgusted with it (it's hard right now; I'm 24 weeks pregnant so of course, my body is changing and I'm hungry literally all the time). I've come a long way; at least I don't think I'm the ugliest, fattest most disgusting person in the world, but sometimes, I do still get down on myself thinking I could be thinner. It also involves working on my self-esteem and self-confidence and trying not to feel guilt after overindulging in food (I still do feel it, especially when I've had a big night out, but I don't let it tempt me back into ED behaviors, ever). I have heard of others who've made a complete recovery, both physical and mental, but for me, I get to a point, I stagnate a bit in the mental (but it is much, MUCH better than it was when the ED was full-blown). I still seek total recovery and work towards it, but I'm not beating myself up either when I stall and say well, I might as well give in to all those ED thoughts and voices and undo all the progress I've made. And at least, they're not 24/7 any more; I can do and focus on other things much more readily now.