I felt a twinge of guilt last night when I realized I hadn’t published a post for Day 4 of NEDA Week, but in the spirit of self-care (which I needed at that time), I decided I could let go of my guilt and take time to tend to my own needs.
Today I want to address the idea of recovery from eating disorders. There are varying opinions on whether full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Many argue the semantics and will use the word “recovering” instead of “recovered” to describe their current state. Through my personal experiences, I’ve come to believe that full recovery is possible and I currently consider myself recovered from Binge-Eating Disorder. Of course, you’ve read on this blog that I still choose to overeat sometimes, I still occasionally consume food to drown out feelings, and I still hear the voice of self-criticism and body self-loathing. However, when I look at the sum total of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that were once associated with my Binge-Eating Disorder, I know that I am recovered. Use whatever word or phrase feels comfortable to you, but recognize that you may be doing yourself a disservice to believe that you will always have an eating disorder or always be in recovery.
The National Eating Disorder Association website says the following about recovery: “While eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, help is available and recovery is possible. It is important for those affected, and their loved ones, to remember that they are not alone in their struggle. Others have recovered and are now living healthy fulfilling lives. Let the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) be a part of your support network. NEDA has information and resources available via our website and helpline: www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, NEDA Helpline: 1 (800) 931-2237.”
I like the phrase, “living healthy fulfilling lives”. When I look at the big picture of my life, I realize that it is healthy (more moments than not) and it is fulfilling (more moments than not). I’ve learned to not be so all-or-nothing in my thinking or to expect myself to never engage in old behaviors or never cling to distorted thoughts or never have self-doubt. That’s impossible. What is possible is being recovered from the all-consuming misery that once was Binge-Eating Disorder.
I wish the same for all of you and encourage you to seek support from trusted friends, family, spiritual advisors, mentors, and professionals as you journey towards “recovered”.
Peace, joy, and health,