Thursday: share recovery advice! What are you doing, how did you make it, what helped/is helping you, who supported you, etc! Anything that can assist others in their own recovery process!
It’s Day 4 of National Eating Disorder Awareness week, and my week of doing a post a day about my journey. Yesterday, I wrote a comparatively short post about tips to get through tough days. Part of the reason it was so short was because in part, yesterday was a tough day. I needed some of my own advice, and spending too long ruminating on bad days wasn’t going to build me up in the way I needed to, so I hope you can forgive me. The advice is still good – just a little short!
Day 4 is about recovery, which is technically what I am: recovering.
Recovery is such a huge process, for me it has been over ten years in the making. So it is difficult to distil it down into a few easy sound bites, but what I’m going to do is just address some of the broader things I do to help myself out, and also leave some open space for people to get in touch, comment, or message me if they have personal questions. No question is too personal or too strange, hit me with it.
What are you doing to aid recovery?
For me it’s often about the things that I don’t do, rather than the things I do to keep myself healthy with my food. They often have to do with numbers. For me, numbers are a big trigger. Whatever number gets called would never be low enough for me, so I just stopped having it my life.
- I don’t weigh myself.
I haven’t weighed myself on a scale in fifteen years. I don’t keep scales in my home, look up my BMI online, and even when I get weighed at the doctors I ask them not to tell me any numbers and keep my eyes closed.
2. I don’t look at the calorie count.
I don’t read nutritional information, I just try and look at food for how it tastes and if I like it. I have to protect myself from certain information in order to progress.
3. I don’t pay attention to sizes of clothes in shops. (This one is still really, really REALLY hard)
For me, there is nothing less encouraging and more triggering than trying on a something that is “my size”, only for it to be too small. Even if I know the sizes run small in the shop, it might set me back a lot in progress because I can’t get the number on the label out of my brain. To make it easier, I tend buy in the sale or in charity shops/vintage shops where sizes seem to be less important. In those stores I can often pick a piece of clothing based on if I like it or not, and since it is usually the only one of it’s kind, if it doesn’t fit then that’s that. And if it does fit and is technically a bigger size than I might have chosen on the rack, I tend not to care because it’s such a steal in terms of price. Right now I am wearing a huge fluffy jumper from Topshop which I nabbed in the sale for £20. It is too big and a size 16, but it is so comfortable and snuggly that I don’t care. If I had seen this jumper on the rack, I would have been mortified if I didn’t find the smaller size comfortable. I would never have dreamed of buying a size this big. It’s a way for me to make clothes less about size and more about fun.
Then there’s some stuff I do to help with my recovery.
- I cook.
For me food has always been about control, and one thing that allows me to channel this control into positives is making food from scratch.Through this I’ve learnt about cuisines I love to eat that make me feel like I am helping my body be healthy; for instance I love south east Asian and Japanese cuisine, foods I would never have considered when I first had my eating disorder.
2. I talk.
Sometimes it’s really difficult. I don’t want to say anything, and I’m afraid people will tire of my relapses and problems. But I have reached a strength in some of my friendships and especially my relationship with my partner that we have developed a certain language to talk about these things. So it’s not like I have to call someone up and say “I’m feeling particularly anorexic today.” Rather, I will say “food stuff is really hard at the moment,” and they will know how to speak to me in a way that’s non-threatening. They ask questions like “have you been stressed?” and “how are you feeling?” rather than quizzing me about exactly what I’m eating or not eating.
Basically, they help me find a way to make my recovery not about food, and that’s kind of what all of these things do. With these things in place it becomes about what’s going on inside my mind, not about my body and what it looks like. And that is the most important thing for me.
Is there something you want to ask that I haven’t covered? Are you really struggling with a particular part of your own eating disorder that you could really use some advice on? Please feel free to send me a message – you can get in touch with me through my “Talk to the Runner” page, or you can find me on Tumblr at thewritingfuriosa.tumblr.org.
So that’s Thursday. I’ll be back tomorrow with some sources and resources that have really helped me.