I often have people ask me about my story of recovery, wanting to know how I did it and if it really is possible to recover completely from an eating disorder. While there are many factors that help someone through recovery I believe there are a few things from my experience that can be helpful.
Recovery is hard, it is exhausting and it is a full time job. But despite all of that it is possible, and more importantly it’s worth it. So what were some of the things that led to my recovery?
1) I sought help and found someone who believed in me. For many years I really thought I could do it on my own and that I had a handle on it. While there are a few people out there that are able to do this, most of us need support. Recovery is hard and having someone to lean on, someone who believes in you can help get you through those times when it is hard to do so for yourself. I also believe finding a therapist or support group can help educate you about what recovery can look like and can point you in the right direction. If you don’t click with the first person you try, keep trying and don’t give up.
2) I changed my perspective on recovery: There are a lot of beliefs out there that you never really recover, that you live with your eating disorder forever even if you aren’t restricting, binging or purging. How depressing! I know I believed that for a long time until my counsellor showed me otherwise. Being where I am now I can tell you that your journey isn’t done if you are still living with your eating disorder in any way. Recovery means living a life free of your eating disorder and all its abuse. It is giving yourself permission to believe that you deserve more than life with ED and that you can be well. If you have reached the point where the behaviors have stopped but the thoughts haven’t, keep going.
3) I’m an eternal optimist: I often ask my clients what other option do we really have but to recover? We can choose to believe we can’t do it, that recovery is impossible or that its just too hard, but I don’t understand how that will help us or move us forward in the direction we want to go? Believing we can’t do it only leaves us hopeless and destined to a life of pain and suffering, so why not believe that recovery is possible even if we can’t imagine or conceptualize it yet?
So why am I telling you this? To show you that recovery is possible for anyone. These are not unique to me but rather something we can all find if we dig deep. Recovery is about finding someone to lean on when you need it, continuing to try even when it feels impossible, and believing that you can (and deserve) to be free of this disorder.
Wherever you are in your recovery, which step are you going to take today? Leave a comment in the section below and know that I am forever proud of you for all you have and continue to do to be well.