One thing that makes me sad and mad about eating disorders (true there are many things but I’ll just rant about this one for now!) is that the illness will rarely let us realise just what we have achieved in a day or even a moment.
I often hear people in the eating disorder community frustrated with or berating themselves for not ‘doing recovery’ perfectly… for not managing to eat the food they’re hungry for, for not managing to rest as much as they want and need to be, for not dealing with the fear of weight gain.
Sometimes people tell me that they managed to add x item to their lunch that day, but instead of celebrating the momentous achievement this was and recognising the huge battle they have won to do this, they are already berating themselves for not having as much of the additional item as they ‘could have’ or for still going for the compulsive walk that they always do.
And yes… we do need to continue to recognise where the illness continues to lurk and the battles ED still wins so that we keep fighting those battles too, but it’s also important to recognise any victory!
Recovery is hard and long and exhausting.
If we don’t recognise the achievements then the despondency and despair in recovery will grow and increase the chance of our giving up.
The ED doesn’t want us to recognise when we win a battle as it wants us to give up the fight…
So acknowledge every achievement you do make against this shitty illness as they might feel minuscule but they really are huge.
And one thing I’m learning as I move forward in recovery, is that each of those tiny seeming wins at the start… the sitting for an extra few minutes, the adding a tiny bit more food…
Those mini wins at the beginning were monumental in getting me to this point and I now know that each extra tiny win I make today will be significant for where I get to in another 1, 2 or 6 months.
Recovery is a constant battleground… some battles are big and some are tiny, some we win and some we lose, but each one counts.
Each battle lays a foundation stone in the recovery brickwork that we are building…. and as the stones grow in number, you realise how important each individual one was to lay.