Warning for discussion of my struggles with an eating disorder.
Photo credit goes to @recipesforselflove on instagram (an amazing, positive account that I adore)
Recovery can be tough. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time battling with what I see in the mirror. The difficultly of having the mentality of checking every little thing about you body, is that it’s difficult to shake off. I keep assessing little things and remembering how they used to be, anorexia telling me how much more confident I felt when I had a little less of that and a more defined this. It’s been hard to push away the negativity and simply love myself instead, especially when this illness has controlled my thoughts for such a long time. For me personally, my eating disorder stemmed heavily from a lot of insecurities and a toxic desperation to have “something going for me”, which I’m now losing. So when that mentality slips it’s way in occasionally, I feel worthless and unlovable.
I think the hardest part is that this is only the beginning of my recovery; I still have a long way to go and have not gained a significant amount of weight yet. If I feel so terrible now, how am I going to feel when I’ve put on all the weight I need back? I knew when I accepted recovery that this was going to be one of the most challenging things, something that may have made me reluctant to accept help a lot sooner. Because if it’s making me feel so good about myself, why would I ever want to stop?
But I think I’m forgetting that this illness gave me a lot more insecurities beyond the way I looked. I became isolated from people. I was so low and unmotivated to achieve any of my aspirations. I started to feel drained and unable to do any of the work I had presently. I may not feel fully comfortable in the way I see myself at times, but at least I’m going out and doing things now. At least my body is getting more of what it needs.
Weight gain is an inevitable part of recovery and it is necessary. It’s all about learning to be okay with that and understanding that it doesn’t define your value. I may be struggling to see that right now, but I am still determined to continue forward. I can’t keep going in circles: losing the weight and becoming unwell and dominated by anorexia, then gaining it and hating the way I look. I need to learn to adjust and accept a life without my eating disorder controlling every aspect.
I was reading an article on The Mighty called “How I’m learning to accept gaining weight in eating disorder recovery” (Link here) and there were a couple of quotes that really stuck with me; “Perhaps experiencing weight gain is not a loss, but instead another challenge to stretch our comfort zones and demonstrate the endless amount of strength we have inside of us.” and “Any amount of weight is healthier than the hatred I subjected my mind to every day.”
Although I sometimes find it difficult to see, I am more than the way I look. There are so many reasons to find love and acceptance within myself. I am always enough, and I must keep going through recovery. It will be worth it in the long run.