I guess the truth is that I am only at the very beginning of my recovery, and whilst I am doing really well, it almost feels harder than ever.
That is, the more my weight edges back to a healthy range, the more I am rewarded with being allowed to go back to ballet full time, allowed to go on my holiday to Berlin with my boyfriend, the more I push against it, the more my eating disorder demands to be heard. I am only at the very beginning of my recovery, and the truth is that I still have some very bad days. There are days when I feel overwhelmed, upset, angry. There are days where I ask “why me?” before breaking down into tears and allowing those feelings to all come crashing down.
I suppose that is why I write this, to remind myself that going backwards is not an option, to remind myself that getting better isn’t a bad thing. After all, where is there to go? Back to Christmas, when I hit a particularly low point, to when I cried in the car to my mum, miserable and told her I couldn’t carry on struggling alone? Back to when I had to admit that I couldn’t go to university next year with all of my friends, that finishing my A Levels this year would be a push? Back to when I had to stop attending my ballet classes, and realise that my amazing summer plans were ‘goals’ that I couldn’t yet achieve?
The truth is that I am only just beginning to put into place a life in which recovery seems possible. Where I can eat what I want because I am hungry, where I can go out with friends, go to parties and properly enjoy myself, to ballet, to university. At times, it feels as though recovery is too much and too overwhelming. Every day is still a struggle, with only a promise that yes, it will get better. However, struggling towards recovery is my only option, and an option that is full of so much more potential than staying sick. These are the words of the girl who WAS well enough to go to Berlin, after six months of relentless fighting. These of the words of a girl who turned 18, having barely managed to sit her exams, and managed to genuinely enjoy her celebrations (even though food was involved). These are the words of me, reminding myself that no matter what thoughts run through my mind every day, recovery IS so much better than letting an eating disorder stay in control.
I write this because a while ago I asked my mum, during a low point, “why would I choose to listen to the part of me that wants to take me away from my life?” And I think I’ve finally realised that whilst I may be overwhelmed by recovery, there really is no other option. I think that’s what I want to share with anybody going through a similar struggle. At the moment, recovering for myself is something I can’t comprehend in my mind. The reason I am finally getting better, the reason I can carry on struggling, is because I am recovering for the person that I could be, the person who wouldn’t even recognise the thoughts of the girl who sat in her mum’s car, crying and cold and weak at Christmas, having to let go of the belief that she could continue the way she was going.
You have to learn how to live again and, like with any lessons, you often have to fail to learn the best way or the right way...
In the past I’ve wanted to hide the eating disorders that are part of my history, but I want to shout from the rooftops: I'm proud of how far I had come!
What a year 2020 has been in general for everyone – it was a year no one ever could have imagined, from panic buying, toilet roll shortages, lockdowns and restrictions. Yet for so many, including me, the battle against an eating disorder continued.