Live From Recovery
We were in the cracker aisle in the grocery store and I mentioned that a certain cracker looked good to me. My partner’s response: “eww gross” And I knew no matter how good they looked I would never be able to eat those crackers. This was not new. It was a familiar thought process. It was like a broken record that is so loud and offensive it creates a physical response. For me the physical response would not permit that (or whatever the food item of the moment was) past my lips. And let me be clear: This response had nothing to do with pleasing my partner. I’ve never been a people pleaser and he was definitely not the most important thing at that time. It was completely and utterly an eating disorder response. And for the first time, I let myself notice that I didn’t like it. I told my partner he could never make comments about my food choices again and I believe it was at that point that my recovery began.
Eating disorder recovery is slow and I did not buy those crackers, however, something inside of me stirred on that day that never settled back down. Recovery didn’t begin for me because someone else told me I had to follow a meal plan or fact checked so much that I began to believe the facts. It began because I woke up to what was happening. I started to realize that the world was not nearly as irritating as I previously thought. It was me. I was irritable. I was always hungry and I was being controlled by a mental illness.
Recovering was a long and sometimes terrifying experience but now the terror has shifted. It no longer comes from meeting my body’s needs or facing uncomfortable emotions. It is now a retrospective terror when I consider the ways I used to torture my body. When I am reminded of that terror now, I regard my body with awe and thank it for being strong enough to withstand that eating disorder I allowed to ravage it.
So what is recovery like? It is like the exact things your eating disorder tells you were never possible. More than anything it is comfort. Total comfort. I get up every day and dress in clothes that always feel comfortable. I am not ashamed of my body nor do I try to hide it. I exercise and it feels really good because my body is fueled for the exercise and responds with a sensation of strength. Gone are the dizzying and headache filled hours after a workout. And what’s more, I am rarely irritable! That’s one I never saw coming. I am proud of the long fuse I have and the stressors I confront with calm. Recovery is a million times better than your most compliant eating disorder day, I promise.