Location: Ohio, USA
I am Master’s student taking a break to focus on recovery. Since my eating disorder has consumed so much of time, I am relearning how to have hobbies that are not obsessive or self-destructive. I am also trying to focus on self-care, something I have been neglecting for years.
How Has Beating Eating Disorders Helped you?
It has helped me find a sense of community. I have felt so isolated, and having people with similar experiences really helps me break out of that prison.
Where are you in your recovery journey?
I am just starting recovery so I am still very much engaged in eating disorder behaviors. I thought that once I was diagnosed, everything would move along and I would be able to eat normally. However, that hasn’t been the case. It has been slow-going increasing my intake. I have found blind weigh-ins lifesaving. The number on the scale is a huge trigger for me. I have also discovered that I have to actively focus on recovery everyday, or I start falling back into restriction.
What are your future recovery oriented goals?
I want to enjoy food again; my eating disorder has really taken my love of certain foods. I want to have a positive relationship with my body. I want to be able to exercise healthily, without viewing it as a form of purging.
What is the most helpful thing someone has said to you? What has been the most harmful?
My therapist told me that a thought is not a fact. This has been helpful when I am stuck in the “I am fat” thinking pattern. I cannot see my body for what it truly is, and right now, I just have to accept that. My GP was the first person I told about what I called my “eating problem,” and she did diagnose me with an eating disorder. She was incredibly nice, but she also reaffirmed my unhealthy relationship with exercise. She told me that exercising 4-6x a week was healthy, I just needed to eat more snacks (even though I felt faint and my hands were constantly shaking). All I heard was keep exercising. I wasn’t going to eat more snacks, I was restricting. Because I was not obviously underweight, I could exercise to my heart’s content. Restriction can occur at any weight.
Is there anything else you would like to add that you want people to know?
Your eating disorder is 100% valid, even if you are not suffering from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. Having atypical anorexia (OSFED), my “ED voice” loves to encourage me to hit that anorexia weight range, even though a huge part of treatment has been trying to prevent just that. Eating disorders do not fit a box, and are not “one size fits all.” Your suffering, your story means something.