I was messing around on Youtube today and ended up watching videos of Rich Mullins. Rich Mullins was a christian singer in the 90s who is famous for writing the song “Awesome God” and writing many other poetic songs. As a child and young teenager I often listened to his music to calm myself and find comfort. Anyways, I was watching videos of him today which I enjoy doing because he often ends up saying some pretty profound things before he sings and this one really hit home for me.
Sometimes even if you aren’t going to sin, it’s nice to be tempted.
This simple sentence describes why I torture myself by still immersing myself in the eating disorder world. I still check tumblrs of girls active in their eating disorder, read eating disorder books and just generally keep all of my ties to that world. It had previously made no sense why I had done so. I want to be done with my eating disorder. I am in recovery. I’m moving forward. I have better things to do that sit and wallow in that former life. But yet, even if I’m not going to relapse it is nice to be tempted too.
And why is that? Well, a part of me still finds that world familiar and comforting. I go there when I am afraid or think I need structure in life. If I still feel tempted to engage in symptoms it reassures me that I haven’t lost the power to return completely to the disorder. I may choose not to engage but it is somewhat reassuring that the urges are still there. That I’m not recovered because that terrifies me.
But is it right that I like to do that? Is it healthy? No. And it is something I need to work to give up to get to that place where I am fully and firmly planted in recovery. But Rich Mulllin’s simple sentence made sense to me and it was nice to put some words to those feelings I have when I visit those dark corners of the internet or fiction shelves. It’s very human and very normal to struggle to give up those last remnants of addictions or disorders and this was also a nice reminder to me. So I have identified another area of recovery in which to work. I have put some words to my feelings now which for me is always a start. The next step is working through them.
Today is the fifth day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA Week) 2013. The Theme for this year is “Everybody Knows Somebody”. Eating disorders are widespread illnesses and can affect anyone regardless of age, race or gender. This week I am going to focus my blog on eating disorder awareness, what it is like to have an eating disorder and share some bits of my own journey. To learn more about eating disorder please visit the NEDA’s website. Also, tomorrow is purple friday. If you have something puprple to wear (the color of eating disorder awareness) please wear purple in support of NEDA week.
It has occurred to me that I throw around recovery and eating disorder language like everyone knows what I’m talking about. For instance I’m often talking about being in recovery vs being recovered. In the eating disordered world there is a difference and there are variyng philosophies surrounding these beliefs. So tonight I thought I would try and shed at least a little light on what is already a really confusing subject for those of you who have no idea of the semantics behind eating disorder recovery.
How recovery is defined is a huge deal in a person’s life who is taking the first steps to move away from their eating disorder. As a person looking from the outside one would assume that recovery would be one definition and one definition only however in the world of eating disorder there is a broad range of definitions and beliefs about just how recovered one can be. Here are my interpretations of the definitions of recovery that I have been given or have heard of in the eating disorder world.
- recovery definition 1 – You shall never be fully recovered. You will have times where you will have little symtoms but you will never be free of the thoughts. Your eating disorder will be with you the rest of your life.
- in recovery – this is a transition time. A person can be in this time for years but a person continues to improve while not without lapses or slipes eventually the thoughts can and will become less leading to…
- full recovery also called recovered(period) – this is why a person no longer is exhibiting symtoms. They no longer diagnosable as having an eating disorder. They don’t have the thoughts of an eating disorder individuals. In essence they are recovered. The disease is gone. They live their lives free of an eating disorder.
Different treatment programs, different treatment professionals, different patients etc all hold differing beliefs about recovery and just how far a person can come towards being recovered. The first definition of recovery I was introduced to was what I define as in recovery definition 1. At this point in time I had no idea what I wanted – if I wanted any type of recovery or even to live. And so when I left my first residential treatment center it was with the belief that I could never fully recover. I would always live in the eating disorder world I would just reside in different degrees of hell. And so to me it was hopeless. Why even try recover when it was almost ensured that I would end up back in the depths of my disorder? And so I promptly relapsed.
When I was admitted to my second residential program I was introduced to the idea that full recovery (recovered) was possible. In this treatment center, it was believed that everyone could and would recover. To present myself as a hopeless case was not tolerated. There was no such thing as no hope, I had the chance and most importantly the choice to recover.
This concept of full recovery has allowed me to stay in recovery and every milestone that I pass, every lapse I come back from brings me closer to that day I can say I’m recovered. I know many people hold many different opinions about recovery but if you want my opinion it is that no one is hopeless and that if a choice is made and a person works towards it full recovery is possible maybe not now, maybe not in a year, maybe not in five years but someday a person (me) can be fully recovered.
And that is why I keep going, keep working and what keeps me moving forward. I will be that girl who can say I am recovered period.