The Messy, Yet Rewarding Process of Recovery
There have been so many times where I have thought to myself that recovery isn’t for me. Everyone else can do it, but not me (that right there is black-and-white thinking - which is unhelpful!!) I can relate to having a competitive leg that wants to race through recovery and get through it in the least amount of time possible.
From being a person in strong recovery, I can attest to the fact that my recovery often comes in waves. I will do a lot of work in therapy and nutrition and may not see the effects of this right away. This can be frustrating! There is no doubt about that. I can tell you that this work that you are doing, it will be 100% worth it.
I measure the hours of therapy I have been through, the self-help books I have read to show myself that I am in a better place than when I was tangled within my dangerous, yet protective eating disorder. Me doing work is me making myself better, even though it might not always feel like it in the moment.
“I measure the fear foods that I have challenged and how even if it is only a little bit easier for me to eat something, at least it is that much easier. That right there, is recovery.”
As I grow in recovery, I appreciate more of the little things. Like eating candy casually in between classes or recognizing when my irrational eating disorder thoughts begin to catastrophize. Recognizing these things makes me feel empowered, and more in control of my thoughts and my behaviors. I also want to point out that recovery may feel exhausting at times. It can be tiring and frustrating to fight against diet culture and weight bias on a daily basis. Trust me, I deal with this everyday, I get it. I wish I could give you a medal right now. You deserve one.
You continually choose recovery and that is a powerful thing. You want a better life for yourself than your eating disorder, and I appreciate that.
Recovery is your own journey, it might take time. It took me awhile to slow down and appreciate just me “being in recovery.” What does that really mean, “being in recovery?” To me it means a state where I may still have eating disorder thoughts and/or behaviors, however I am ready to and working towards changing that. It can be difficult to see the end of the tunnel, but as long as you are walking through the tunnel, the end is there. There is a light and recovery will help guide you. Believe in your treatment team or seek out professionals who specialize in eating disorders. Invest in some time to reflect. Reflect on your recovery and brainstorm things that are going well and things that you want to continue to work on. What are the barriers to working on these challenges? What can some starting points look like? These can be helpful questions to reflect on if you get stuck within the recovery process. Feeling stuck is okay, normal even.
Getting stuck and still choosing recovery, day after day, I think that is the ultimate goal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEGAN SAMUELS
Megan Samuels is a 21-year-old female (she/her/hers pronouns) at the University of Maryland studying Psychology with hopes of becoming a therapist. She is passionate about sexual assault survivors' rights, eating disorder recovery, and social justice. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, art, and reading.