I think I am in “recovery”. After suffering from bulimia with anorexic behaviours I now find myself 18 months purge-free. During those 18 months I found myself becoming less and less scared of the fear foods and I started to deal with triggering situations better every time. I found myself re-educating a love for myself and I really did progress with that self-compassion.
Long gone are the days where planning and panicking about what I would or would not eat that day plagued my mind from the moment I woke up to long after I went to bed.
Those days do exist, just shorter in duration and longer in days apart. However, it would be a lie to say that the ED does not plague my thoughts from time to time.
Does this mean I’m not in recovery? Does true recovery mean every day is a good day? I doubt that…mental health aside, not every day can be a good day. Every day has its own stressors and obstacles to overcome. Being in recovery means you fight the battles…at least that’s what I think right now.
I’m 18 months happier. 18 months healthier. I’ve learnt to value my body for what it can do and what it can achieve. I’m no longer ashamed that I never made it to the Olympics and ashamed of my achievements being (what I thought was) sub-par. Instead I’m proud of my athletic achievements. I have my trophies and medals on display instead of gathering dust in the cupboard and I even framed my World Championship sports kit to hang on the wall.
My mum asked “what if you want to wear it again?”. My initial thought was that I couldn’t fit into the tiny outfits I used to wear even if I wanted to but I said what I really thought which was, “this is me, hanging up my kit and moving onto my next chapter”.
So here I am, in my next chapter. A chapter called “I hate my recovery body”.
I follow a lot of ED-recovery accounts across a series of platforms and whilst they all share positive vibes and scream body positivity, I find myself angry that I didn’t “recover small”. That my body has become bigger in my recovery journey. I’m very short (barely 5ft) and my 34EE chest looks so big. I’ve almost come to terms with my chest though, although its difficult dressing my body in a complementary way. But I just hate my stomach. I hate the loose skin and little rolls of fat. I hate the way my appendix scar sits, a crooked 3 inch red line with loose skin hanging over it.
And I believe me, I try. I try to love my stomach. I really do but I can’t.
I think it’s made worse by the fact I eat balanced and workout daily and see no change. I ran half-marathons last year and I still gained fat (not muscle). It hurts me to see that my body isn’t as slim as I want it to be. As someone who is still very active, the problem now is that my brain is really screaming to miss a few meals, to purge every now and then. It’s blaming me for the way my stomach looks and is tempting me to slip up as a “quick fix”.
The biggest thing my ED brain is making me question though is, “does this mean I am actually in recovery?”
Does the fact I dislike my recovery body invalidate my recovery?
Do I have to love and show off every single inch of me to prove I am in recovery?
Am I allowed to feel ashamed of my recovery body?
Or does that mean I’m not recovered at all?