For two years the phrase “I’m not ready to recover” became my mantra. Recovery is like a swimming pool with no shallow end. You can’t just dip your toe into the water or walk in until it’s up to your knees for it to work. You have to dive in headfirst and do what you can to keep yourself afloat when it feels you’ve never been taught how to swim. I am here to be completely honest with you, and I think I’m doing you a favour when I tell you this; you will never be ready to recover. If you’re waiting for the right time to recover then you’re waiting for a train that is never going to come. I once read that there are three outcomes from an eating disorder: you recover, you live in what feels like hell or you die. You cannot live in harmony with it.
In order to recover you have to want it, and I will repeat that until I’m blue in the face. The realisation that I had to recover came to me when I looked around and thought long and hard about what my eating disorder was bringing me. I was gaining nothing but misery and I’ll bet you aren’t either. All I knew was that I had tried everything and I was still miserable. I had tried hurting myself in more ways than one and do you want to know what it solved? Nothing. But do you want to know what it took from me?
1. My family’s trust 2. My self-worth and respect 3. My ability to do well in school 4. My health 5. My relationships and friendships 6. My creativity 7. My energy 8. My motivation 9. My time 10. My happiness
I’ve never heard of anyone that’s reached a point where they’ve felt ready to recover. Sometimes you just get to the point where you’re so desperate to experience any sense of normality again and recovery is the only thing you haven’t tried yet, so you give it a shot. I didn’t think anything would get better when I made the decision to give recovery a go. I just thought to myself, “I’ll try it for a month and if it’s crap and doesn’t work then my eating disorder will still be there for me to go back to” because it could be. But chances are as soon as you realise that there is so much more to life than having an eating disorder, you won’t even want to go back to it.
Living with an eating disorder doesn’t make you special or give you any power because you aren’t living. You’re not living at all. Not only are you destroying yourself but you’re destroying the people that love you too. I promise you that people care and it’s hurting them to see you in this much pain. Even if the smallest part of you thinks that you want to beat this then that voice is just as valid and worth listening to. These are things that your eating disorder will never tell you. You deserve to have a life beyond this. You are capable of having a life beyond this. You are loved, cared for, unique, strong and beautiful.
Make it your goal to eat three meals tomorrow. Then add in a snack. Then another. Then another, until you’re eating three meals and three snacks every day without question. Throw away the things you use to self-harm. This is what you have to do to heal your body. You have to make a change and this is where you start. Whenever the voice pipes up and tells you that you don’t really need to eat that much because you were never that sick, tell it to go away. You do. There is no such thing as sick enough. You will never be sick enough for your eating disorder. You are sick, and that is enough. Give yourself a chance.
“To the voices in our head that tell us we aren’t good enough: do be quiet.”
Contributed by Amy