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Recovery isn’t a dream... it’s a beautiful reality" - Elisha's story

I honestly never thought recovery was possible. It was a cruel dream out of reach. I heard stories about recovery and people getting well and never truly believed it. What was “well”?. It was nothing but an alien concept to me. I don’t think I ever felt 'well'; some of my earliest memories are once filled with glimpses of a future eating disorder. My anorexia felt like toothache at the time - a constant dull pain that I just couldn’t get rid of, no end in sight.

However, fast forward to today. I rave about recovery because I know it’s possible - I am living proof of it. And I emphasis LIVING, because that’s what I am now: living a life with endless positive possibilities. I can listen to music and dance without a worry whether that’s for just a moment, or for minutes, or for as long as I can keep up. I can write and laugh and live. And I know I keep going on about living, but a life with anorexia often doesn’t feel like a life at all - just existence in this perceived to be ugly world. But in reality, it’s so very beautiful.

Life is about more than an existence. It’s about memories and friends and family.

Life is about our experiences, so maybe to some degree anorexia is a form of living. However, it is said a life lived in fear is a life half lived - and anorexia is a life lived in fear, fear of food and gaining weight and losing control of what we believe we are in control. And with hindsight, I was never ever in control back then. Anorexia had full control over myself, and to extent my family too. Life is more than fear, whatever that is you fear. I think the thing I feared the most was change, I feared looking differently but most importantly feared relationships changing around me.

Without anorexia I’ve stepped out more, done things I would never have done before.

Therefore, I’ve met new people and have now new relationships which have a new dynamic. No longer seen as the girl with anorexia – which was originally a scary thought. I’m seen as me, someone who’s recovered but also someone who loves fun, laughter, books, flowers, music, fashion and so much more. The best thing that comes with new relationships is I no longer feel people think of me and want friendship with me out of pity, I believe people mean it when they say I look well (and I don’t think its code for you’ve put on weight) and I know they mean it when they say I look happy – because I am. Recovery has changed my experiences with people - it’s given me a new insight to life and living.

So, if I could go back in time I’d tell myself recovery is worth it and you will eventually reach it. Recovery is often a road travelled somewhat alone - but eventually it will actually help you travel other roads, with others, leaving the loneliness somewhere in the past.

Recovery isn’t a cruel dream, it’s a beautiful reality.

-Contributed by Elisha

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, or are concerned for yourself or a loved one, you can find support and guidance on the help pages of our website.

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