Most of my life has been spent trying to shrink myself. Trying to become smaller. Quieter. Less sensitive. Less opinionated. Less needy. Less me. Because I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to be too much or push people away. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to be cared for and valued. I wanted to be wanted. So for years, I sacrificed myself for the sake of making other people happy. And for years, I suffered. But I’m tired of suffering, and I’m done shrinking. It’s not my job to change who I am in order to become someone else’s idea of a worthwhile human being. I am worthwhile. Not because other people think I am, but because I exist, and therefore I matter. My thoughts matter. My feelings matter. My voice matters. And with or without anyone’s permission or approval, I will continue to be who I am and speak my truth. Even if it makes people angry. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Even if they choose to leave. I refuse to shrink. I choose to take up space. I choose to honor my feelings. I choose to give myself permission to get my needs met. I choose to make self-care a priority. I choose me.
For two years the phrase “I’m not ready to recover” became my mantra. Recovery is like a swimming pool with no shallow end. You can’t just dip your toe into the water or walk in until it’s up to your knees for it to work. You have to dive in headfirst and do what you can to keep yourself afloat when it feels you’ve never been taught how to swim. I am here to be completely honest with you, and I think I’m doing you a favour when I tell you this; you will never be ready to recover. If you’re waiting for the right time to recover then you’re waiting for a train that is never going to come. I once read that there are 3 outcomes from an eating disorder: you recover, you live in what feels like hell or you die. You cannot live in harmony with it.
In order to recover you have to want it and I will repeat that until I’m blue in the face. Eating disorders are a form of self harm and self harm is an addiction. You cannot recover from an addiction if you keep providing it with what it wants. How can you expect yourself to recover if you keep doing the same thing day in, day out? You have to physically make a change. You have to make the decision eat that meal without purging or sit on your hands to stop yourself from self harming, if that’s what it takes.
The realisation that I had to recover came to me when I looked around and thought long and hard about what my eating disorder was bringing me. I was gaining nothing but misery and I’ll bet you aren’t either. All I knew was that I had tried everything and I was still miserable. I had tried restricting, bingeing, purging and self harming in more ways than one and do you want to know what it solved? Nothing. But do you want to know what it took from me?
1. My family’s trust
2. My self worth and respect
3. My ability to do well in school
4. My social life
5. My relationships and friendships
6. My creativity
7. My energy
8. My motivation for anything
9. My time
10. My happiness
I’ve never heard of anyone that’s reached a point where they’ve felt ready to recover. Sometimes you just get to the point where you’re so desperate to experience any sense of normality again and recovery is the only thing you haven’t tried yet, so you give it a shot. I didn’t think anything would get better when I made the decision to give recovery a go. I just thought to myself, “I’ll try it for a month and if it’s crap and doesn’t work then my eating disorder will still be there for me to go back to” because it could be. But, chances are as soon as you realise that there is so much more to life than having an eating disorder, you won’t even want to go back to it.
Living with an eating disorder doesn’t make you special or give you any power because you aren’t living. You’re not living at all. Not only are you destroying yourself but you’re destroying the people that love you too. I promise you that people care and it’s hurting them to see you in this much pain. Even if the smallest part of you thinks that you want to beat this then that voice is just as valid and worth listening to. These are things that your eating disorder will never tell you. You deserve to have a life beyond this. You are capable of having a life beyond this. You are loved, cared for, unique, strong and beautiful.
Make it your goal to eat 3 meals tomorrow. Then add in a snack. Then another. Then another, until you’re eating 3 meals and 3 snacks everyday without question. Throw away the things you use to self harm. This is what you have to do to heal your body. You have to make a change and this is where you start. Whenever the voice pipes up and tells you that you don’t really need to eat that much because you were never that sick just tell it to fuck off (for lack of a better phrase). You do. There is no such thing as sick enough. You will never be sick enough for your eating disorder. You are sick, and that is enough. Give yourself a chance.
“To the voices in our head that tell us we aren’t good enough: do be quiet.”
a handful of people:*make a good point five months ago about the pervasive culture of anti-recovery mantras on this website and point out that it’s damaging to younger and less experienced people dealing with their mental illness*
seven hundred and fifty thousand stupid assholes, every day:*sees post venting about how i’m annoyed by my therapist* UGH this is SO TOXIC and ANTI RECOVERY why doesn’t OP just JAM A FUCKING STAKE IN THEIR STOMACH that’s how HORRIBLE they sound FUCK OP and FUCK this site
There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way. It doesn’t need to be painful or empty, you need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, fall asleep in the woods with friends, wander the city at night, sit in a coffee shop on your own, write notes on bathroom stalls, leave notes in library books, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot. Do all things with love, but don’t romanticize life like you can’t survive without it. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful I promise
I am not angry, although I have every right to be. I hold no grudges, for my life is to be lived positively and healthy. There is no use nor worth in thinking of those who have hurt me- they have moved on.
I have control over some things, and other things are out of my control-that is okay. I will let go of the things that I cannot control in my life, I will accept these facts. Having bad thoughts do not ruin my day, it’s just a sore moment. Flashbacks do not define me, they are not real, I do not have to relive what happened to me.
I am, and will be always be okay in the end. I am stronger than this. I am a Warrior. I am still healing and growing and learning. I will never be perfect, and that is okay. Perfection is unrealistic. I am human. I am valid. I am loved. I love the person I am, and the person I am to become.