You can’t get it all unless you give it your all.
My recovery from anorexia – and depression- has been nothing short of infuriating. I have had highs and lows, ups and downs, I’ve jumped forward 3 steps to then be pushed back 5, I’ve given up on numerous occasions, dragged myself through the fire and resolved to go through it again, wounds barely healed.
My enthusiasm for recovery was often short lived, mainly because I had no tangible results to hold on to, it was only when I truly dedicated myself to recovery – and welcomed every aspect of it – that I began to reap the rewards. And rewards there are!
My recovery is a story still in the writing and having picked up the pen for good, I am making the preparations for a fairytale ending. This fairytale is not about a horse drawn carriage wedding, beautiful dresses or ownership of a castle (that’ll come later…) no, the ending I want in this chapter is two-fold: mental and physical health.
There are many different ways this can be defined and I am pleased to say that I have encountered many benefits thus far. My main purpose in writing this is to inspire you to keep going and to give you a dose of positivity: this is possible! Truly it is.
To put this into perspective, committing to real recovery, choosing to recover from anorexia day in day out is the most important decision I have ever made. To have got to this point in my recovery remains to this day my greatest accomplishment.
Out of all the things I have done, from awards given, commendations, exam results, races ran, friendships forged, paintings completed, I mean, I earned a degree! and yet, this, the decision to recover and my determination to get to this stage, is the thing I am most proud of. I chose to fight and I am so glad I did. All else pales into insignificance.
This isn’t a typical list though, I’m not covering the benefits of weight restoration for instance, I hope instead to outline the less obvious…
So, let’s get down to business (yes, that was a Mulan reference!).
What you gain when you commit to recovery:
- Your smile
You learn how to smile and mean it. You slowly learn to see the good and you appreciate it. This isn’t just gratitude, this is a deep appreciation of the people and circumstances around you. Smiling may seem alien at first, but more often than not, you find day to day reasons to be happy. In the end, you don’t have to look far.
- You get an inner sense of peace and calm
This is possibly the best bit. Once you get into the routine of properly nourishing yourself you are no longer fighting against your basic need to survive. The internal arguments and spiteful comments still create waves in the water, but you use your insight to see the bigger picture. Your mind and your body are working together, in unison, it gives you the space to consider what is important to you and it gives you the time to reflect.
- You get your life back
Obvious, but worth mentioning. So you have a life, right, and you get to do whatever the
hell you want with it! 24 hours a day!
When that reality hit me in the context of recovery I felt overwhelmed but excited. You get the freedom to do as you please. Days are no longer ran by mealtimes and snack breaks, you don’t begin and end your day on the scales, you run your day and it is the most incredible feeling. The reality now is that you can be anything you want to be.
Doors are flung open: you can go out to dinner, you can do exercise for fun (not weight loss), you can wear tight fitting clothes in public, you can travel, you can spend quality time with friends and family, you can go swimming, dancing, you can do it all.
- You get an inordinate amount of strength
You become fearless. “If I can do this, then I can do anything” becomes your attitude to life. Recovery is so damned difficult but once you start winning at it, you acquire a profound sense of confidence in your own abilities, in your own potential. I am emotionally resilient now and I know that I can manage and deal with anything that comes my way. I look to the future with hope, not with fear.
I can take on the world. And so can you.