This is not my eating disorder story. I do have one, of course, and one I will eventually share with you, but for right now I like to focus on the positives of life and concentrate on how my eating disorder has ultimately affected me a positive way.
With that being said though, after this past weekend I have been out of recovery for three years. THREE YEARS. I honestly was never sure I would be able to get recovered but now looking at myself on the other side, I cannot imagine how I let myself be so trapped inside my own head and hidden from the world for so long.
What I got out of recovery FAR exceeded what I had ever expected it could do. I never thought that I would be able to eat normally again, or look at a piece of food and see it as just that, food, and not the number of carbs, fat, and calories that it had. I didn’t think that I would ever be able to listen to my cravings and order whatever I wanted off of a menu instead of one of the “safe” options like grilled chicken or a salad (without dressing, of course.)
The beautiful thing about recovery though is that I have done all of these things and so many more.
I gained weight, yes, but I also gained a sense of passion and joy for life that I didn’t have in the few years leading up to my eating disorder. I have gained a feeling of independence and self-worth and respect for myself that I probably wouldn’t have gotten had I not overcome this illness. I have also found a motivation to educate people about Eating Disorders and explain that they’re not just something people do to try and get attention (which is a common perception).
I have had multiple opportunities to speak to young (well, younger than me) people about eating disorders and to tell my story. I used to be embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to know what went on for those 3 long years. Once it was no longer a secret though, and people started to find out, I got an overwhelming amount of support from all of those around me.
Yes, I did gain weight during my recovery. I am no longer stick thin and a size whatever, but I am unbelievably happy: happier than I ever thought possible. I gained confidence and a sense of self-worth and the knowledge that I can truly overcome anything.
My eating disorder was rough. It told me I was useless and dirty and that I didn’t deserve love. It told me that I needed to lose weight in order to be more valuable and that with it by my side, forever and ever, I would be perfect.
Recovery shattered every piece of that demon and taught me I don’t need to change in any way in order to be perfect. Recovery taught me that I didn’t need to be terrified of food and that no matter what size I was, my soul was still the same. It taught me that I am not more valuable if I take up less space and I deserve all the love in the world.
So cheers to you recovery. Thank you for standing by me the last 3 years and for never letting that horrible ED back in. Thank you for giving me my life back and for making if 300000x what it was before you came around. Thank you for making me feel loved, and happy, and most importantly, for making me feel beautiful again.