An Interlude on Recovery

Before I go on, I wanted to say a few thing about recovery:

I am not recovered. I am closer to serenity now than I have been for many years, but I am not recovered.

When I first started out on this path toward recovery, I was thwarted by myself. I wanted a magic pill to erase the years of hurt. I wanted to wake up and say, “Today, my ED is gone, and I am all better.”

I’ve tried diets; I’ve tried overdoing “fitness.” I’ve hidden in academia, and I’ve run away from my dreams. I’ve picked up my life and moved across the country. But always I have forced myself in the direction of “being all better.”

But I’m learning that recovery doesn’t work like that.

ED is like a virus–once it’s in your system, it imprints itself on your DNA, becomes a part of you, changes you in subtle, but insidious ways. You can “get better” when you have a virus, sure, but “better” doesn’t mean that the virus is gone. It stays in your bloodstream, waiting for a moment to flare up and attack your immune system again.

All you can do is build up that immune system and learn how to fight through the symptoms.

I’ve known this fact for years, and yet I’ve spent those years trying to disprove it. Knowing that I will always have an ED was incredibly depressing to me. And yet the more I sought to control the virus’s symptoms, the sicker I got.

Today, I’m throwing my hands up and waving a white flag of surrender. Not because I give up–far from it. But I am giving up the control.

I will always have an ED. I accept that I am powerless.

Now, instead of fighting, I can focus on building up my immune system instead. By being powerless, I become powerful.

To those of you who are out there who struggle to fight off the symptoms of their own ED virus, just know that you are not alone.

Build up your immune system by reaching out and talking to others who suffer. Take time to meditate. Find a support system. Engage in positive self-talk (even if you don’t believe it) or find someone who will help you see the truth behind ED’s lies.

We don’t have to suffer forever. There is hope.

I’m not perfect. I’m not recovered. But if you ever need me, I’ll be here. And together, we can fight.

– K.

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4 thoughts on “An Interlude on Recovery

  1. I always explain it to people with the analogy of being an alcoholic. You don’t wake up one day and have a drink because you are ‘recovered’. Every day for the rest of your life you have to live with the disease and make better choices including abstinance and avoidance. ED is like that except in the case of alcoholism/drugs you can get rid of the problem by removing the drugs and booze. We have to wake up every day and face our ‘drug’ because we can’t ever live without food (even though some of us have tried).

    • Truer words were never spoken. Living in the world with an ED is like being a cocktail waitress recovering from alcoholism. It’s an everyday struggle–but neither is impossible (’cause I know some alcoholic cocktail waitresses who have made it through!) 🙂

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