Eating disorders can become such a huge part of our identity. We go from being so obsessed about food, and weight, and exercise, and shape, and all the other insignificant things that our eating disorders convince us are the ‘be all and end all’, that when we consider the prospect of recovery, it feels so so overwhelming and unknown. I know that I for one have most certainly found myself questioning; ‘who am I?’, at multiple stages throughout my recovery journey. Why? Because when something that has been such a major part of your life for so long is coming to an end- that can make you feel uneasy.
The important thing to remember is that those feelings are just that, feelings, they are not facts. We might have convinced ourselves (or our eating disorders might’ve convinced us), that we are our eating disorder, but that could not be further from the truth. Yes, we might be struggling with an eating disorder at this moment in time, but that isn’t who we are. No, we are so much more than that.
Writing personally, I am in the latter stages of recovery now. Having relapsed back in October 2020, my progress has been pretty slow going until fairly recently when I just decided; ‘that’s it, I’ve had enough.’ Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been as easy as just eating more, it never is that easy, but despite the minor struggles I have faced, I am pleased to say that I have remained in recovery since.
In the next couple of weeks, if I keep progressing as I am, I will be weight restored back to the weight that I know my body works at its best at, and honestly? That’s a bit of a scary prospect. Whilst I know that I need to get to that weight, and I want to get to it, a part of me questions; ‘who will I be then?’ I know that there is a lot more to recovering from an eating disorder than just gaining weight, and I’ll almost certainly have some mental things to work on, but still, I find myself feeling a little bit lost when I think about getting to the point where I no longer need to heal physically.
But, I’m trying to follow my own advise and remember that I am not my eating disorder, and I never have been. Sometimes it can feel like my eating disorder is what my whole life centers around, but it isn’t, and it doesn’t. When my eating disorder has gone, which it will do, I know it will, I will still be me- Lisa, only a happier, more fulfilled version of me who is at peace with myself, my life, and my body. When I put it like that, I don’t fear saying goodbye to my eating disorder anymore. It might feel like a safety blanket for now, but I know that I have outgrown my need for it, and it is time for it to go. It’s time for me to move on with my life, without its presence.
It’s time for me to live my life to the full. So, that’s exactly what I’m striving to do.
One day at a time, I will get there, and I’ll be here to tell you how good it feels to be free.