Lessons in Recovery from an Eating Disorder

Although eating disorder recovery is not easy and may at times feel like an unattainable feat, it is possible to recover.  There are many out there who have achieved recovery and there are many out there who are still struggling with the idea of it.  Taking action to commit to recovery requires a tremendous amount of willpower and insight.  Here are a few tips that may help you in your journey.

1.     You are not your thoughts.

The road to recovery is a true lesson in understanding your thoughts and the sheer fact that you are not your eating disorder and the thoughts that surround it.  Depending on your stage in recovery, this may or may not be a comforting idea.  Mindfulness technique is an excellent skill to gain awareness of our thoughts and our reactions to them.  Gaining the ability to separate from your thoughts and view them objectively without becoming emotionally or behaviourally immersed in them will serve you greatly in numerous aspects of your life.  There are tons of resources out there to learn more about mindfulness, including health care professionals, books and courses (or as I always prefer, a lovely combination of all of them).

2.     Recovery involves ebbs and flows.

It’s unrealistic to think that once you recover, you’re not going to have the odd thought or struggle.  In my opinion, there is a big misunderstanding of what recovery is.  While the battle with eating disordered thoughts becomes more manageable and your ability to work through them becomes more of a harnessed skill, it’s rare for them to ever 100% go away.  This may sound like a dismal outlook, but is it not a reassuring idea that the odd eating disordered thought isn’t going to ruin recovery?  It can’t be sunny every day; at the same time you can’t let the cloudy days ruin your outlook.  Keep your eye on the bigger picture.

3.     It takes a tribe.

You need a network to reach out to – health care professionals, family, friends, peer and group support.  And you most certainly can’t walk the path to recovery on your own.  A tribe is so important in recovery for accountability, monitoring of your physical and mental/emotional health and a sounding board for thoughts and feeling that inevitably will come up in your journey.  It’s also important that your recovery tribe never be forgotten.  They’re going to be your support system for when rough waters arise now and into the future.

4.     You’re not alone.

You’d be surprised the people you come across in your day who are fighting similar battles to what you may be going through.  Every person has their story and every person likely has something they struggle with, whether it is an eating disorder or not.  We are all human and we’re all experiencing this crazy beautiful mess called life together.

Recovery is possible and it’s a truly wonderful, life-altering journey.