Should we be ‘normal’ in recovery?
Earlier today, I had a comment that I’ve been visiting a lot of coffee shops, with the question raised of whether this was a ‘normal’ thing to do.
The question got me thinking & it did get me wanting to respond with a thought I often have about eating disorder recovery, which is –
EATING DISORDER RECOVERY IS NOT ABOUT BEING ‘NORMAL’!
We’re in recovery from acute, dangerous illnesses that quite frankly kill far too many people & if they don’t kill us then they do make our lives about as miserable as it’s possible to become.
If a person is recovering from another illness as acute as an ED we would not expect them to behave in a ‘normal’ way while they were recovering.
So why do we expect this of ourselves?
To recover from an ED we need to act in ways that most of the population would consider grossly ‘abnormal’ for as long as it takes to not only heal our bodies but also rewire our brains.
This means eating an ‘abnormal’ amount of food so we nutritionally repair & break any restrictions & food rules we have.
It means resting more than ‘normal’ people might to break any exercise or lower level movement compulsions we have, as well as to allow physical healing.
It means gaining weight to our set point -which might be a weight others consider higher than we should be or that is far outside our ideal comfort zone.
And.. for me, now, to help me overcome fears of eating out, ordering from menus, being in a ‘normal’ social situation – it means repeating exposure to coffee shops or other public places to eat -where I have a little less control so that in the future I can do this spontaneously without fear attached.
Perhaps, I am therefore visiting coffee shops more than ‘normal’ .. although what is ‘normal’ when it comes to this?
BUT for me -this is part of my recovery journey & recovery is not about being ‘normal’.
In recovery we have to act in ways that are grossly ‘abnormal’ for a time to rewire & heal.