Recovery from an Eating Disorder

It’s been over a month since my last struggle with my eating disorder. What a month too, I’ve been fortunate enough to have work to distract me from feeling the true sting of it a lot of the time. I was always so worried how I’d cope with recovery. Every time I’d resolved in the past to move on, to change and get better and grow, it’d come back, worse than ever. For most of the last 3 years, it’s been a crutch, something I used to deal with any little issue that cropped up in my life. As the issues (mostly self-inflicted) got worse, so did my bulimia. Treatment over here is…lackluster at best. I was met with just a passive indifference from most healthcare professionals I saw. I wanted to get better, so badly, but it was so easy to get back into that pattern. It took me hitting rock bottom and below to even start to claw back to some sort of normalcy. I was binging and purging 4 or 5 times a day, trying to waste away and become skeletal. I wanted to hurt and suffer and feel awful as a punishment. It wasn’t until I had a moment of clarity (to borrow a quote from Pulp Fiction) that I realised I needed to get better. In all honesty, I was unsure as to exactly what I was feeling when I started. It was the weirdest combination of “I need to feel ok, or this will kill me” and “fuck bulimia. Fuck it right in it’s stupid face.” An odd thought to be sure, but it was a heck of a driving force.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started recovering. I had tried in the past, but it was just so intimidating. How much weight would I put on? How would I cope without my crutch? How would it affect my mind and body? Well, for those wondering, here’s what I found in the 30 days and counting when in recovery.

  1. Weight Gain

I avoid scales like the plague. They’re the absolute worst thing to someone with any form of eating disorder, and I’m convinced they go a long way to creating more EDs than anything. I don’t know what I weighed when I started, but I’d estimate I’ve put on about 5–10lbs. All of which is pretty much water. It’s one of the worst things to deal with to be sure, the thought that I’m going to put on loads of weight and be closer to the person I used to be when I was obese. I feel so insecure about how I look, it’s too much to leave the house some days. I constantly stretch and pull at my clothes because I keep thinking they’re too tight.

2. Pain

Damn eating normal food hurts. After months of basically starving myself, my digestive system getting used to food again is rough. I’ve had a constant stomach ache for the past 4 weeks, and it’s something I didn’t expect. I should have I suppose, but it’s much more severe than I could have thought. There’s also pain & swelling in my joints, again from fluid retention and build-up.

3. Teeth

My teeth got fucked. Years of purging made them so weak and prone to damage, it’s clear that I’ll have to have a lot of work done on them at some point in my life. Ah well, there’s worse things I suppose.

4. Mental health

This is the big one. I’ve actually, surprisingly, been the most ok in this regard. I’ve not had many thoughts of falling back on old habits, I’ve been calm and accepting of things that have been happening to me. It’s an odd, yet incredible feeling. It all comes down to rewiring how your brain works and copes with things. I’ve found myself having to say “it’s ok, everything will be fine” a lot. But I’ve actually believed it. Not just lip service or self delusion, but honestly I know that all the shit I’m putting up with is just a temporary blip. After that, I’ll be ok. Better than ok. Fan-fucking-tastic.

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