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Adult Eating Disorder Recovery

Breaking the Disordered Rules

"Breaking the Disordered Rules"

So here I sit at 12:20pm eating my lunch.

What is that ED? I’m not allowed to eat my lunch until 1pm?

‘No lunch before 1pm’ is just one of the many, many illogical rules that you force me to follow. I know how this works.

Because I have to leave for an appointment at 1, you want me to wait to eat lunch until after I return. You’re sneaky though because if I obey your first rule, you get to enforce another one of your rules; the ‘no eating a meal and snack in close succession’ rule. By eating my lunch much later, I will be eating too near afternoon snack time and therefore cannot then have afternoon snack as well. This means I skip a meal and end up not eating enough in my day.

That’s just what you want isn’t it? You want anything that is going to make me eat later than I should and as little as possible.

I always fall for your tricks; not realizing that it is just disordered little you, spouting your disordered nonsense. You put the fear of God in me if I even consider doing something different, so I listen to you and I follow your rules like the obedient little girl I am.

Today, I don’t want to eat my lunch at 3pm though. I will be so hungry by then that I won’t be able to think straight. That is when you like to strike again. You get into my head when I am weak and tell me all the things I can’t eat and why. My head gets pretty crowded and loud with both you and me in there arguing. Sometimes it gets so loud I can no longer decide what to eat, so I end up not eating anything at all and you win again.

Well, today I am deciding to break your rules. Every time I listen to you I end up going hungry. I’m hungry now and need to eat something, so it might as well be my lunch.

Yep, here I go. I’m biting in to my sandwich… at 12:20pm!

Just you watch me.

 

 

My Recovery Model

 

It’s been a while since I have seen my little brother. I say “little,” but he is actually 6ft2, a good 5 inches taller than me. Again, I say “little,” but he’s actually a 21 year old man now. Every time I see him, he seems to have grown. There is only 2 years difference in age between us. We grew up together. We both have brown hair and blue eyes and glasses. Yet, I have Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and he doesn’t.

I realised quickly that my brother has a lot to teach me about food and exercise.

If you ask him what a calorie is, he might just be able to tell you it has something to do with food, an ingredient perhaps..?

My brother doesn’t think about food for any other reason than because he is hungry. When he is hungry, he goes to the kitchen and gets what he wants to eat. This is regardless of the time of day. Regardless of what exercise he has done or will do, regardless of what he has already eaten or is going to eat. He doesn’t make choices based on “Healthy” or “unhealthy.” He just eats what sounds good at that moment. Sometimes that’s an apple and sometimes that’s a deep pan pizza from Domino’s.

My brother likes to relax. To sleep. To eat. To relax. He is in a road biking group with his friends at University. It’s a social activity and he enjoys it. He likes his fancy carbon fiber bike and fancy biking gear. He recently took part in a 9 hour bike race through the French Pyrenees. Sometimes he goes for 50 mile bike rides and sometimes he goes for 5 miles. Often, he just doesn’t go on a bike ride. There is no schedule or routine, he just goes on a bike ride when the weather is right and he feels like it.

My brother is in general a super chilled out person. He is probably 98% anxiety-free. He might have a small amount of primal anxiety that may manifest itself reluctantly if he was being chased by a ravenous 400kg Grizzly Bear.

My brother is healthy, and he is healthy without ever having thought about what that means. Without “healthy” being something that he strived for or felt that he needed to obtain. He is healthy through eating whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Exercising every now and again, but only if he feels like it.

 

If there was an antipode to AN, it would probably be my brother; a prime example of an intuitive eater. In my brother, I see the potential for my life without AN. I see what recovery might hold in store. And as unlikely as it might be, I see a recovery role model.

Recovery- glorious, messy, scary, overwhelming, anxiety-producing, beautiful magical process.

Recovery is a glorious, messy, scary, overwhelming, anxiety-producing, beautiful and magical process. Where to start I do not know, but I want to share… As the tears start to form in my eyes, I want to share, because this process is hard, challenging and takes so much mental work. You just couldn’t try and explain it to anyone, but you know that everyone who is reading this post, is working so hard on their own recovery.  You know the mental work it takes. It takes pure determination and persistence.  It takes a daily, mindful effort. I want you to know I am proud of each one of you because any Eating Disorder (ED) is mean and will tell all sorts of lies; including, that you won’t recover. The process is an adventure and will test you along the way, but it is also the most amazing journey; to begin to feel again, to come alive.  To be able to have freedom in my head for moments that are clear. In these moments, I can be in touch with my true self.  The ability to fully hear other people when they speak without a barrage of thoughts flooding in. To be able to concentrate.  To see children playing, to see a flower bloom, to taste chocolate and feel you are allowed to have it. To be in the moment without having to run away.  To sit here and type without noise in my head; these moments are the gifts of recovery.   The tears come because for so long I thought that even though I had hope I would recover, I truly didn’t believe I could. So many years I shared with ED but the truth is I can recover and so can you. I am having moments I never thought I would.  I am filled with hope and I want you to feel that hope too. It is never too late and ED will kick and scream but we can all heal and move beyond the illness.

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