Whether you are yet to begin your recovery journey, or have walked along this long and open road for a while now, it is important to know that choosing recovery is something to be immensely proud of. Because it is a step towards listening to yourself, and not your eating disorder.
I am five years into my recovery journey, and I am in a wonderful place right now. I can honestly say that my life is no longer ruled by Anorexia's voice. And while the voice of Anorexia still calls out to me at times, it is a weak and pathetic whisper that I resist surrendering my time and thoughts to.
So, when did it all start to get ‘better’? As many of you may probably know, there is no visible line between sickness and recovery. Often, you'll find yourself doing something, whether it’s going to a party with friends, eating, drinking, or simply relaxing in your own company. There will then be a moment when you realise that you are actively making choices that put your happiness before the life that Anorexia wanted for you.
For me, letting go of Anorexia and choosing recovery was about acknowledging that I had an identity separate from the eating disorder, and that I had to find my own voice that Anorexia had been trying to replace. I had to realise what I wanted for myself – even if I didn’t quite know what that was yet.
And with finding one’s identity in eating disorder recovery, one must push boundaries. I had to (and still) do things that I thought I didn't want to do. I felt that I didn't deserve it, or that I didn’t need to do it. But once I started pushing through those thoughts and doing it anyway, I eventually found that those were Anorexia’s thoughts, not mine.
The other day, Anorexia’s utterances were louder than normal, to the point where I thought it was my own. The voice was telling me to feel guilty and ashamed, but I knew that I needn’t feel guilty about anything. I am so much more than controlling my body and what I eat. I am me.
Anorexia is not control; it is giving yourself up to a life of misery. True self-control is carrying out self-love, and living life on your own terms. It is about finding your voice.
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.