I have recovered. I’m at my happy weight, where my body naturally lands when I generally eat healthy and exercise but don’t think about it too much. I choose my food in terms of deliciousness and energy-giving rather than how it will hit my hips. I don’t purge, binge, starve, cut, weigh myself, or count calories. I don’t even think much about eating disorders unless I run across an article or overhear someone talking about the caloric content of their salad.
But recovery isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m not a glowing goddess of health and happiness. I’m just me, dealing with the bumps and bruises of life as best I can. And sometimes my best sucks.
Like, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I ping-pong back and forth between work and netflix so fast I have no space for actual human relationships. Sometimes I create crises like not paying my taxes on time or not vacuuming my room for three months or not doing laundry until the underwear situation is dire. And sometimes I drink coffee right before bed just for the hell of it.
In fact, I made a whole angsty list about why recovery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Why Recovery Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
- An eating disorder is a small world with clear rules and clear punishments and clear rewards. The real world is very big and very confusing.
- I’m behind. Everyone seems to know what music they like and what they do for fun and where they lean politically, but I spent my growing up worrying about my food, not my life.
- I don’t remember much of my teen years, and what I do remember isn’t fun to retell. People swap stories about their wild youths, and I’m just like, “There was this one time I ate a whole cake.”
- Cooking healthy meals is a lot of work.
- So is remembering to take my vitamins.
- So is doing taxes.
- Sometimes recovery is really boring. I just – live. Work, eat, sleep, hang out with friends. There’s no crisis. No labyrinths of deception. No looming suicidal thoughts. Just life.
- Other times things get really shitty and I have to feel it all.
- When I was bulimic, I didn’t expect anything from myself except to continue being bulimic. It was a great excuse. “I’d finish college, but I’m crazy. I’d pay my bills, but I’m crazy. I’d get a job, but I’m crazy.” Now I have goals. Expectations. Desires. All of those things are stressful and require me to pause netflix and put on pants.
- When I failed, I used to blame bulimia. Now I’m scared I’ll try hard things and find out that I really can’t do them. Not because I’m crazy, but because I’m just mediocre.
This is the part of the post where I should probably stop telling you all the reasons recovery is hard and tell you why it’s worth it. But I think you already know that it is. Otherwise you’d be googling thinspiration instead of reading this.
If you’re recovering and like me are finding out it’s not all about exuding health and finding love, know you’re not alone. Life is hard. In some ways, complete meltdown is easier. But even if life is harder and more painful without bulimia, I’ll still take it. And I bet you would too.