Something that I have heard a lot throughout my ‘journey’ with an eating disorder, is that my ED is something that I need to ‘learn to live with.’ Even when I was in a specialist eating disorders hospital, I was being told that I might never fully recover from Anorexia, that it would always be there to a varying degree throughout my life. This, in my opinion, is not what someone in recovery from an eating disorder, or any illness for that matter, mental or physical, needs to hear. It’s like telling someone that they have a terminal illness, something which they will never recover from. Doing so would undoubtedly instill a sense of hopelessness in them, causing them to question what the point in even continuing with their day-to-day existence is, let alone trying to recover.
The delivery of fake news such as ‘full recovery from an eating disorder isn’t possible’, gives eating disorder sufferers an ‘excuse’ to maintain some of their disordered behaviour, and to remain enclosed within its perceived ‘safety.’ Instead of actively striving to challenge themselves and their disorder, they might hang on to parts of it by, for example, settling at a weight below that which is recommended for them, and/or having certain ‘rules’ around food still ingrained in their mind. Such disordered behaviour, unfortunately, often goes unquestioned by many family members and friends of those struggling, since they might also be under the illusion that, ‘this is just the way your life will be now.’
The ‘real news’, however, is that it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way, for this is most definitely not, ‘just the way your life will be now.’ That is, yet more, ‘FAKE NEWS!’
Whilst I acknowledge that some people might not fully recover from their eating disorder, I disagree that it applies to everyone (a small minority, maybe.) My belief? That full recovery from an eating disorder is possible, and that it should be encouraged, not dismissed as being a ‘rarity’, something exclusively reserved for a select few of the ‘lucky ones.’
Something that I have personally found helpful when I find myself questioning; ‘will I ever be completely free from my eating disorder?’, is looking up to, and taking inspiration from, people who have proven that full recovery is possible. Two ‘Instagrammers’ who really ‘fit the bill’ here, are Victoria Spence (@victorianiamh), and Laura Phelan (@itslauraphelan.) Both of these incredible women are living proof that one can have an eating disorder and come out the other side to do amazing things, without so much of a hint of their eating disorder still being present. This, I find incredibly inspirational.
To end this post, a few words of wisdom from yours truly…
If you, like me, have ever been (wrongfully) led to believe that you will never fully escape from your eating disorder, I want you to remember the following facts:
- There are brighter days ahead, no matter how dark today may seem.
- Recovery is possible, and that is a concept that you need to hang on to.
- You don’t need to ‘learn to live with it’, you need to learn to live without it. You need to, and you will. Have faith in yourself, like I do.
- You will recover.
- You can do it!
So, what are you waiting for? Choose recovery (and choose it today!)