Recovery has always been just a term to me. Something that I never believed I’ll go through. I thought that once I’ll decide to stop, that’s it and I’ll never have any problems regarding food ever again. But past weeks into recovery, I realized how damn hard it is. And as a huge fan of music, that’s when a particular lyrics of Coldplay’s song often comes to my mind – nobody said it was easy, but no one ever said it would be this hard.
If one thing, eating disorders don’t give up so easily. You’ll be facing thoughts that the recovery is pointless, thoughts about giving up, thoughts about the worth of it all. They won’t go away, but you’ll learn to give them less and less attention. Here are few things that I think all of us had gone through when recovering from an eating disorder and some tips how to handle them easier.
Am I doing the right thing? Will I get through it? What if I fail, will I have to go through this all again? Why is this even happening to me? Should I quit? Is it ever worth it? What if I’ll never recover? When will I finally recover? Doubts are a natural and vital part of us humans. Without doubts, we would settle for whatever was given to us, and by this time we would probably still be sitting on a rock eating roots. Next time the doubts about recovery hit you, try to have a little discussion with yourself. What are you so afraid of? What can you do to prevent it from happening (such as failing, giving up,…). What are the reasons why you’re doing it for? What motivates you when you’re feeling unhappy? If it helps you, write it down and look at it when you’ll feel doubts again.
Eating disorders are extremely isolating and so is often the recovery. You are alone with your thoughts that you have to fight with and as it’s quite difficult for other people to relate to what you’re going through. If you know that being alone may be too hard for you, especially at the very beginnings, try to surround yourself with people. Be with your family and friends, let them know what you’re going through and ask for a support in this difficult but brave times. Hang out in public places, for example, if you know you’re supposed to study, go to a library or a café, somewhere where you know you’ll keep yourself busy. Don’t hesitate to call your friend throughout a day, even for just a short call to encourage you. Believe me, as difficult as everything seems at the beginning, everything gets easier in time.
By dealing with one problem, many other problems you’ve been suppressing for all that time might actually start coming to the surface. I never realized that I was so scared of responsibility. I didn’t put that much attention to procrastination until I started dealing with my eating disorder. A sudden realization of all the things, feelings and problems you didn’t want to deal with may be pretty overwhelming. Don’t let it distract you from your goals. Take it slowly, one problem at a time. It as an opportunity to get rid of anything from the past that’s been bothering you, get a closure, forgive, let go and improve yourself in so many ways so that you can become an even more awesome person than you already are.
You’re the one to do all the hard work. The progress is often slow and insignificant at the beginning. And you’re the one in charge of sticking at or giving up. And it’s only up to you NOT to. I’ve heard many people say it – eating disorders make us feel like a victim. People start to worry about us. We give up our responsibility. But during a recovery, it’s time to take back the responsibility for our own lives, for our decisions and acts.
Urges to stop eating, go back into your old habits, urges to quit, urges to binge, urges to throw up after eating something “out of the plan.” Urges will come, but they will also go. There’s no way to stop them coming, but you don’t have to listen to them. Each time you do not let them get you, you win and you’ll move a little further in the recovery process.
Highs and Lows
At the very beginning, I felt unstoppable. I was so motivated and pumped up and I didn’t think about failing. I was so sure that I’m not ever going to fail again. I was happy about every new recipe I tried, about every workout I did and I was so motivated by the physical and mental progress. I felt amazing.
But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies (high five for that Maroon 5 reference! <3). There come days, like in everything, when you will have to literally force yourself to get out of bad. The workouts will suck, your head will be overloaded with crazy thoughts and the last thing on your mind will be a recovery. You’ll be lazy to prepare a meal, maybe you’ll have to push yourself to eat five meals a day. You’ll feel like everything you do is pointless, you will doubt if it’s even worth it and you will think that sooner or later you will fail anyway. But that’s alright. No one is happy 24/7. Not even those fancy schmancy people on Instagram. Don’t let anyone fool you. We just let people see what we want them to see. Feeling low, depressed, anxious and demotivated doesn’t mean you’re failing. It just means you’re human and you’re trying your best to get yourself through some damn hard times.
Overwhelmed by emotions
If you’re like me and you used food as a way to cope with feelings, once you stop doing that, you might start to feel overwhelmed with emotions. I used food as a way to avoid certain things – those unpleasant, those that made me feel uncomfortable, those that caused stress and anxiety and panic. Later on, I used food to avoid everything. Rather than spending time with my boyfriend, I surrounded myself tons of binge-food any YouTube. I hated myself, I felt disgusted and we would probably argue anyway, so why should I even try, I often thought to myself. Instead of studying, I would cry and eat and hate myself even more. Food and procrastination became my best friends. Any emotion, any feeling, both positive and negative, I bottled up with the food. I was numbed. Once I stopped using food as a way to deal with things, problems, and emotions, I started to get overwhelmed with every little thing. I cry more, I get angry quite easily, but I also enjoy little things more. But some days, like the last few days, I feel depressed, worthless and without a meaning. And on days like these, it’s quite easy to get back into your old habits. But it’s important to realize that it’s all just a natural and necessary process that leads toward recovering both your body and your mind. Try to take your mind off of it, go for a run or a short walk, do yoga, cry, talk to a friend. Just don’t give up!❤️