Really, I didn’t. I met with my dietitian recently—now one of my closest friends—and she caught me off guard when she told me that the clinic considers me “recovered” from my eating disorder.
I’m honestly still a little baffled by that news.
I don’t know what I thought recovery would feel like—or if I would ever even get here. But it was news to me, that’s for sure.
Because here’s the thing—nothing is gone.
The thoughts and the temptations to go into extreme dieting mode are still there.
The anxiety surrounding the concept of food and exercise is still there.
The desire to be thinner and more muscular are still there.
The random negative and destructive thoughts towards my body are still there.
But when she told me that I had made it over the mountain, I realized—
Those things don’t need to disappear completely for me to be recovered.
I don’t need to never experience anxiety about food and exercise. Or even to not care about the size of jeans that I am wearing. I just needed to not let those things control every aspect of my life.
And I’ve realized that they don’t anymore.
It’s so strange that just over a year ago I was on a trip to Colorado where other people were in charge of food. I literally had an anxiety attack because they chose a restaurant with all the calorie information on the menu. And then made plans to go to a homemade ice cream joint afterwards.
And if I am being honest, today, if I were to go through that EXACT same scenario I would probably still face the anxiety. But I would CHOOSE to enjoy the evening with my friends fully confident that eating a cheeseburger and some ice cream wouldn’t ruin my life. (Because I truly thought it would.)
I am thankful for my anxiety today.
I am thankful that recovery and victory over an eating disorder doesn’t mean an absence of the fight for the rest of my life.
Thankful that every single day I get to fight to choose victory, because if you forget the fight, you forget how sweet the victory is.
I am thankful that recovery means I can still relate to the feelings of fear and anxiety that other women face every single day. Because honestly an “I’ve been there” isn’t nearly as powerful as an “I’m with you.”
And that’s why I know the only reason I’ve recovered is because I was first redeemed by Someone who fought the fight for me. He is ultimately victorious and finished this battle before I even knew it started.
I’m thankful I had a reason to fight and the Truth to fight all of the lies. An understanding that somehow, some way I could live a life believing that my worth and value weren’t in what I ate, how much I exercised, and what size my clothes were. I’m thankful that I knew, through this entire journey, and for the rest of it, that someone loved me enough to die for me. Not one ounce of His love was because of how I look. He loves me because He knows me, and that’s all I wanted to believe anyway.
So, sister friend (or brother),
If you are where I was—I still get it. I really do. But, I also have tasted freedom and victory. I PROMISE that it is so much sweeter than that bitter, overwhelming taste of fear and anxiety. It’s worth the time and it’s worth the fight.
ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t assume that your healthy looking friend is as healthy as they look. The worst, deepest, and darkest part of my eating disorder was when I received encouragement and compliments for my “healthy” lifestyle. I was diagnosed with Orthorexia soon after. Now, I don’t mean to say that everyone has an eating disorder (although I’d argue that it’s in the majority), but they are normalized and celebrated in our society. As the Body we need to fight for each other…because that hole was much too deep for me to even know there was an opening above.
Meet them there, and bring a dang flashlight.
Share with a friend who might need to hear this today!