How does one overcome an eating disorder? Does anyone ever really fully recover? I can only speak for myself. What inspired me to begin my road to recovery was meeting my husband.
It may seem cliché. I hate that we live in a world where little girls are taught that one day their prince will come and sweep them off their feet and make everything okay. That’s not what happened for me. What happened was that a young woman who had been spinning out of control for eight years found a touchstone.
The comfort that I once took in my bulimarexia now had a different source, security in the freedom to be completely myself free from conditions. I could be flawed.
It’s hard to explain without sounding like a teenage girl. I must make the point that it wasn’t about my husband, it was about how being with him shifted how I saw myself. I finally felt safe.
Recovery began for me when someone finally saw me. I made up my mind that I wanted to get better when I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and if I didn’t stop what I was doing, that wasn’t going to be very long. A switch flipped. I went from being consumed by the need to control everything to being able to let go. I finally cared if I lived.
How I did that may sound simple, but it was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.
I directed all the energy I had focused on controlling and restricting myself into giving myself permission to let go. I was never hospitalized for my disorder. However, I had extensive psychiatric and psychological therapy for my bulimarexia. In my case, there were comorbid diagnoses and once we determined that, we were able to get to the root of my issues. I was medicated to treat my primary diagnosis and that helped me see my path to recovery more clearly.
From my own experience, I highly suggest that anyone who is suffering from eating disorders seek professional help. You can’t imagine how it made me understand why I did what I was doing and how much it helped me to know that I was not alone in having this disorder. There were other people who were going through it too.
I stopped vomiting. It was more like I weaned myself from it. It’s very hard to stop this disorder cold turkey because, for me, anyway, it was an obsession and an addiction. I built my entire life around it.
I slowly incorporated more calories into my diet. This was torturous for me to do, too.
I educated myself about my diagnoses. I read every book that I could get my hands on and even took clinical psychology courses to better understand my diseases.
I learned about nutrition. I changed the way I ate and I met with a nutritionist.
I opened up about it. I talked about it with my family and friends. Letting them in was part of my recovery. Helping them understand, just being able to be honest with people, allowed me to have a greater support system to fall back on. That support system was critical in my path out of darkness.
This is my story of recovery. I have been recovering from bulimarexia for 15 years. I will be in recovery for the rest of my life. Each day is a new battle, but each day the battle is easier than the last.
If you know anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder or you are suffering from an eating disorder yourself, please visit National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or call 1-800-931-2237.
Do you have any advice for someone suffering from an eating disorder?
Image via Rega Photography/Flickr