A list of the things I heard and learned about recovery that are true for me.
Eating disorder recovery is unique to the individual.
There is not one treatment for eating disorders.
Recovery is fluid.
Etiology and solutions are varied.
Sometimes there is danger in having others define what recovery is for you. This can result in unattainable goals and feelings of failure. Define recovery and redefine it to feel successful.
Who defines recovery: The person suffering is who knows. You can’t fool the self
Instead of saying “Recovered,” say something like, “I am 58% recovered and working on the rest.” However say whatever it means to you even if it means not saying it to anyone but yourself
Recovery is something that evolves over time and is defined by the one suffering
One moment of relapse will not undo all the good work.
Need to get rid of saying “Ideal body weight”
Language is important
Health at every size
Recovery: do not make it like a prison. The eating disorder was already like that
Recovery is emotional regulation and the ability to act rational in irrational situations
Eating disorders do evolve and devolve
It was important that I wrote the ending before I got to the ending. I played out the entire binge or restrict episode all the way to the end so I could ask myself; what do I want later? Who do I want to be? What challenges and emotions do I want to deal with today? Will I feel better or worse? What will my body think?
Treatment does not always mean recovery
I eventually needed recovery from my eating disorder and from treatment. There are many types of recovery groups and centers and philosophies that create rules and restrictions. Initially I needed to measure food and control portions and make sure I was eating enough and not too much. Initially I needed rules and needed to pre-make all my food and never eat out. As I gained recovery more and more I was released from the rules of treatment. It was the lack of anxiety around food that allowed me to finally be free.
The things I would tell someone striving for recovery is that it is a collection of many “Ah-Ha” moments over a long period of time while seeking recovery. It is not about hating your disorder, you will not come to hate it, you will come to understand it, respect it and not need it anymore. It is about valuing and not forgetting that you have a greater purpose in the world and you deserve wellness, love and kindness from yourself and others. Every time you take a step towards fear you take one more step towards becoming the person you are meant to be in the world.