Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The long and winding road

I've never been the sort of person who just spontaneously plans a trip (I'd love to be that person it's just not in my psyche). When I set off on a journey I like to have a good idea in my head of where I am going and how long it will take to get there, maybe this is why I am finding recovery so hard. It doesn't come with a set of directions to follow, it isn't nicely gift wrapped. Recovery is an unknown journey for me, the only certainty is that by the end of it i'll be the one thing I am scared of most in this world, heavier.

People have the misconception that recovery is simply a case of eating more but it really is so much deeper than that. I am having to learn to ignore those voices that tell me food is bad, that enjoying food is greedy. I didn't stop eating because I wanted to thinner, I don't think the skeletal look is an attractive one, I stopped eating to gain some sort of control over my life as I went spiralling into the depths of anxiety. I aspire to have a body like the athletes I cheered on at last years Olympics - strong and functional.

My problem with food goes way back to my early teens, a time when I was suddenly conscious of my body (puberty is a bitch for everyone!) I had aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer, I worked my body hard and then I pushed it even further, I was a typical 'bun head' I lived to be in the dance studio and on stage. My friends were starting to have periods and mine were still absent, I was desperately trying to fit in at school and yet I was different - I knew what I wanted to do, I didn't go out to parties as there was always a dance class I wanted to go to more, I wasn't interested in boys, I wanted good grades and I worked hard to get them. These things singled me out and in an attempt to blend in (or disappear) I controlled my food. This means my eating disorder has been a part of my life for 13 years. Whenever anything has gone badly for me I've coped by restricting my diet, this isn't turned around by simply eating more - if only it was. I need to learn to make choices based on what I want to eat rather than what is the lowest in calories. I need to learn that my self worth isn't measured by how little I've eaten, I need to learn to take control and fight back.

Recovery doesn't come with a set of directions, every single person who is recovering from an eating disorder will be on a different path to mine, one that throws up different challenges. Every step I take is taking me further away from my comfort zone and deeper into the unknown. Is it hard? You bet your life it is, but I have never been so determined to fight in my life.

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