Remembering Why Recovery Is Worth It
I am in recovery from an eating disorder. When most people hear this, or when my healthy self is strong, I am praised for how far I’ve come. I am reminded what a huge accomplishment recovery truly is, and of all the obstacles I’ve fought to make it this far. But most days, people don’t hear that I am in recovery from an eating disorder. In fact, in most of my daily interactions, there seems to be a lack of understanding of eating disorders, much less an awareness that a friend or co-worker like myself could personally be affected by one. Every day, my healthy self fights with my eating disorder. It hopes to overpower ED’s portrayal of food and weight and my body as enemies, rather than qualities that give me energy and the ability to function.
“And while I am incredibly grateful that my eating disorder is no longer all encompassing, on my hard days, when nobody can tell I’m struggling and my healthy self is particularly tired, I can’t help but wonder why I’m fighting.”
I can’t help but question if powering through to eat nourishing meals, or challenging myself to listen to my body and incorporate all types of food, is truly worth it. Why am I fighting this battle with ED to the point of exhaustion—sometimes even to the point of tears—if nobody is holding me accountable and nobody can tell how much I’m struggling? Honestly, these arguments—ED’s rebuttals that remaining trapped is easier than crawling my way towards freedom—are some of the most convincing. I still have many days when I feel unable to refute ED and get stuck in the lies of “what’s the point?” Except there are so many points to recovery: food freedom, laughing with friends over dinner instead of counting calories, having a cookie after a bad day because it tastes good and ‘why not?’
“Then, there are the reasons beyond food. On my particularly bad days, these are my strongest motivators: mindlessly singing song lyrics when I zone out instead of mindlessly counting calories; daydreaming about traveling or achieving my next set of dreams, instead of dreaming about my next meal or snack.”
Then, there is fighting ED’s talent of maintaining the illusion that I am isolated from the world: the ‘nobody cares I’m struggling’ or ‘nobody sees me.’ Yet, I’m learning that even when I feel incredibly alone or misunderstood, there is an entire community of people rooting for me. I have my friends and family cheering me on. Even if they can’t possibly understand all aspects of my eating disorder, there is always someone willing to listen.
But, I also know whenever I feel trapped or lost in the eating disorder recovery process, there is somebody out there who has fought ED before, wishing for me to break free. There is also somebody on their own recovery journey, looking for hope that recovery is possible; for me, it can be motivating to try and be someone else’s inspiration when I feel too weak to be my own.
Yes, I am in recovery for an eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. While I’ve made significant progress in accepting that I need nutrition for energy, I still have hard days when I need people to guide me and remind me why it’s worth it—why I’m worth it. But I also can’t forget that my support system and my reasons for recovery are always out there.
“While some of us can get exhausted and overwhelmed fighting ED, I believe we are all fighting for an indescribable freedom at the end of the recovery journey. I believe that full recovery is both possible and worth it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRITTNI TERESI
Brittni Teresi is 21 years old from Las Vegas, Nevada. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the sun, reading, and hanging out with friends. Music, writing, and inspiring people have been essential in her recovery journey. She recently graduated from Swarthmore College outside of Philadelphia, where she received a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Environmental Studies. She hopes to one day work in clinical psychology, with the goal of helping people as much as others have helped her.