Author: Chloe Faulkner from nyxiesnook.com
What does recovery mean to you?
Are there any challenges you want to face in recovery, and what will life be like once you face them?
What are you taking back from your mental illness? Freedom, control, stability?
When faced with a mental illness, recovery often means taking back control. We’re taking back the freedom of allowing ourselves to eat, the ability to go outside without anxiety, or we’re changing how we speak to ourselves.
Recovery = Freedom!
Dealing with an illness like an eating disorder robs us of one of life’s essential processes; Eating. Since beginning my dance with anorexia over thirteen years ago, everything I knew and loved about food has been stripped from me. Now, at twenty seven years old, I’m facing the battle of a lifetime in a bid for freedom around food. Recovery is, therefore, a big part of my life at the moment, and means a variety of different things for my future.
Firstly, recovery means complete freedom from calorie counting, fearing foods, food-induced panic, and restriction. I haven’t eaten some of my favorite foods in over 10 years for fear of the calorie content and what it might do to me. Sadly, this also means that I haven’t tried many new foods which I’ve desperately wanted to! How crazy is that? I’ve allowed a monster inside my head to dictate to me what I can, and can’t eat, just because of the fear of gaining even a pound in weight. Anorexia Nervosa has prevented me from drinking some of my favorite drinks (hot chocolate, lattes, Baileys, milk or milk-based products, smoothies, etc), and it’s even tricked me into limiting water for fear of water retention.
It’s so irrational but very real for me and many others.
Secondly, recovery means freedom to wear clothing again and actually having it actually sit well. Currently, everything I put on hangs and even if it does fit it looks terrible. Without going into much detail, no matter what I choose to wear, I’m either reminded of how thin I am, or I’m made feel “too big” by my own mind.
There was a point in my relapse where I looked at myself and thought ‘Finally, this is great’, I finally look sick enough!
The reality of the situation was that others looked at me and saw nothing but a sick woman in the body of a child. Anorexia had convinced me that it was a good thing that I didn’t have an ass or boobs. Surely that meant I was doing something right, right?
Now, months later, I want to be recovered.
I want my body back and to actually look like a woman. The scary part is gaining the weight and going through weight redistribution to get there.
By going through recovery I want to have a figure, and have the freedom to just own it! I want my hourglass shape back, and if the Gods also gave me a decent set of boobs in the process I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
Thirdly, I want to be able to eat out without looking up the menu ahead of time. I want the freedom to eat out without feeling guilty or tearful during and after.
Forth, I want to be able to travel without the fear of food. The freedom to go to a different place, and actually enjoy myself without the fear of weight gain has been off my list for over 10 years.
While in Poland this year I found it very difficult to separate myself from the eating disorder and it stopped me trying new things. It meant that I used sightseeing as a way to burn off the calories, and I wouldn’t compensate properly for them because the snack foods over there scared me.
Finally, I want to be able to function again without physical pain. I want freedom from chronic stomach issues, joint pain, palpitations, and I finally want to be warm!
Recovery means so much to me that sometimes it’s hard to get it all down.
It’s such a vast question that you can’t help but miss a couple of key things when writing about it. Sometimes you might not even be aware of all the areas recovery could improve.