Recovery for me has been an upwards battle since the start. Release from the hospital meant freedom and independence but with that came accountability. I had to control what I ate. No longer was the food set before me; no longer did I have that looming threat of an IV tube if I didn’t finish every last scrap on my plate.
The first step was recognizing that I had a problem. For weeks even after my release I refused to believe the doctor’s diagnosis. In my mind, I did not have anorexia. I had made a simple mistake, I hadn’t eaten enough and it had gotten out of control. That is what I told myself. Accepting the fact that I was, and still am, truly sick allowed me to focus on healing my body. Rather than thinking about food as the enemy, I thought about it as my medicine.
I took it meal by meal and day by day. I had to lean on family members and friends for support. I listened to their words of encouragement and urged myself to keep moving forward, even though all I wanted to do was fall back into my old patterns.
I tried to quiet that voice in my head telling me, “they are all just trying to make you fat” and “you are so lazy you haven’t exercised since before being admitted to the hospital.” I refused to let that voice control me.
Yet, I had my weak moments, and I continue to have them. I have fallen back many, many times. But what I have learned is that falling back is not what counts, it is how you get up and push forward that really matters.
My biggest slip back was just a few weeks ago. I had just received amazing news, “good job Georgia, you have gained a little bit of weight” my doctor said to me, clearly pleased. My parents sighed a huge breath of relief and at first, I was ecstatic. My first appointment where I had gained rather than lost! What an accomplishment, right?
Well apparently, that voice in my head did not see it that way. “You’re getting lazy, Georgia” “You are eating so much” the thoughts began to bombard me everyday until I could no longer take it. I drove out to an area far away from my house, parked the car, and began to run.
Ever since my release from the hospital I had been on an extremely strict no activity lifestyle. That meant no running, no excessive walking, no swimming; essentially I was to sit around all day just as I had in the hospital.
As I continued to run, I felt the guilt begin to consume me. I knew this was a terrible idea, I knew I was in an extremely fragile state and any activity could send my spiraling down yet again. As I was thinking this, a white car pulled up beside me. The window slowly rolled down and I saw my mother’s face peering back at me.
My parents are amazing. Rather than chastise me for what I had been doing they insisted that together, we would work harder towards recovery. They told me that this wasn’t my fault, that it was a disease and I would have to learn to ignore that voice in my head.
My point is, recovery is not a linear path. Countless of times I have been sure I would not fall back again, and yet I have. But human resilience is an amazing thing, because every time we fall, we get back up. I know that from experience.