Defining the term ‘recovered’ can be difficult, and may vary from person to person. Depending on where a person is at, maybe in the beginning, middle, or what they may consider to be the final and closest to ‘recovered’ stage of their journey, nobody has the exact same experience and therefore have different views on the term. Project HEAL is asking weekly questions related to eating disorder recovery. For this week’s #WEWANTTOKNOWWEDNESDAY, we asked you:

How do you define the term ‘recovered’ for yourself?

Here’s what you shared with us: 

1. “When you are able to fight off disordered thoughts and use coping skills instead. It's been 5 years since I've been in treatment and I feel like I'm mostly recovered. I still have days that are tough and negative thoughts but in able to fight them off and counter the thoughts with positives. I'm able to look at things with a healthy perspective and see the negatives of an eating disorder which I don't want to go back to.” – Heather M 

2. “When you find reasons to keep living every day and understanding that even when tough things do happen, it is not something I need to worry about. I also define it is as continually fighting my disordered thoughts and realizing I have so much to live for and using those reasons every day to get through.” – Elizabeth G

3. “For me ‘recovered’ means being stronger than your thoughts, your negative thoughts, and that you are able to live a normal, healthy, happy life. I think that an eating disorder is a chronic illness in most of cases, so you won`t be completely free of thoughts. But you can get so much better, free yourself and kick the disorder in the background. You should rule your life, not the ED and you are worth it!” - Sandra S

4. “For me, recovered means having the ability to reframe ED thoughts into genuine criticism and positive self-talk. Recovered means that I take the bad days for what they are, and am honest with myself and others that it's a bad day. It means going out of my way to change my perspective on the bad days. It means taking the time to invest in loving myself, taking the time be honest with where I'm at with my relationship with food and my body. For me, recovered means acknowledgement, acceptance, and perseverance.” – Holly M

5. “I think that being in recovery and being recovered are vastly different things. To me, being recovered means that I have a completely healthy relationship with food and my body. That eating disorder thoughts aren't there at all, and even when life gets tough, trying to manage my problems by using behaviors doesn't even cross my mind. That putting in the long, hard work while in recovery has the best payoff for the rest of my life. I think recovered means that the eating disorder is past tense, plain and simple, and I think it's possible.” – Kaitlyn M

6. “Recovered to me is when negative self-talk doesn't dominate my brain. It's watching the negative thoughts come and go without it affecting my food, self-worth and self-compassion. Recovered is about riding the waves of emotions without using anorexia to numb out. Recovered is when food takes proper perspective in my life and eating the food is about nourishment, enjoyment and social connections- not constant calculations. Recovered is when my soul self is so strong that it no longer has to battle an ED/critical self. Recovered is when my identity is not based on a diagnosis but rather who I am as a unique individual. Recovered is being able to stand up and tell people that I once HAD an eating disorder and there is hope for you too. Recovered is REAL.” - Musia D


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