In my last post I wrote about the reflections that I had been making on my eating disorder recovery so far – where I was at the start of this journey and where I am now in recovery and life terms.
And I suppose, the truth is that yes, I’ve come a bloody long way over the past 6 months, but that comfort zone generated by the eating disorder is still a bit too narrow for my liking and it still isn’t the size of even a normal person’s life, let alone the size of the universe. So, until it is, I ain’t stopping with pushing into recovery!
What Do I Still Want To Achieve In Recovery Terms?
Well, the short answer to this is Full Recovery – plain and simple… no disordered thoughts, compulsions, fears or anxieties. But, ultimately, let me break that down a bit further to clarify it more.
Currently, I can eat better, but it can still be too controlled, rule driven and disordered at times for my liking and when I am busy or stressed, the urges to restrict can be automatic and strong.
I have gained weight and I am happy at the weight I am now. I no longer look ‘sick’ and I’d be deemed ‘healthy’ by physical appearance. To reach this point I overcame my fear of weight gain to eat and rest enough to gain but I am aware the fears of further gain are still there (although I have zero drive to lose weight!).
Anxiety and depression levels have been so much better for a time but just lately they have crept back in again and in my case I am confident this stems from the eating disorder.
Movement compulsions are better than they have been in over 13 years but I still get urges and thoughts to start exercising again and have to be on my constant guard as I don’t feel confident that engaging now would not become quickly compulsive once more.
I can socialise better now but I still struggle to eat out easily or go crazy and spontaneous with food.
And I still have not had a return of my period. There have been times it felt like it was going to start but it has not yet… maybe it never will now because of my age but I need to push on to be sure.
Ultimately, I do feel I have hit the point of ‘quasi-recovery’ that so many reach, where you can live, function, survive and convince the world you are ok, but you are not truly better or free.
As I reflected on this over the past couple of weeks, I became down, lost hope, felt despairing and helpless. But then I decided to ‘man up’ and be the change I want to see….
I refuse to settle for half-way recovered.
I did not come this far to only come this far.
I have to find out if full recovery is waiting for me if I push on and what more that could bring to my life.
Therefore, I will be pushing on in my recovery journey and ultimately I know, just as before, that only I can do that work.
For me, I know I need to push on into recovery once again with urgency. Jumping back in head first, not toe dipping, or else my relapse risk is lying a bit too close for comfort.
To truly recover fully and completely, I HAVE to face more weight gain – perhaps a LOT more weight gain…. even if that is going to take me above and beyond what might be deemed ‘healthy’ or acceptable by BMI BullShit. Ultimately, my brain and my mental and life freedom from the illness will know when my weight is at a point that is healthy for me.
So, I have decided that I will actively aim for not just weight gain but I will aim for ‘overshoot’ (whatever that means!) to be darned sure I am safe, that my body is where it needs to sit weight wise and in doing so, I am confident, my disordered brain will become less sick along the way!
And for me the fast approach, as I have written about before works best…. (see Eating Disorder Recovery Using A Fast Approach) …
By intentionally aiming for overshoot, I am hoping to remove the mental gymnastics, the negotiations and the doubts from my brain – for my response to this can always be, ‘what is the worse that can happen?? Recovery?’.
What are other reasons for me to push on with significantly more weight gain?
I want to allow my body the chance to fully heal internally – repairing all the vital organs and parts we cannot see, which only happens with sufficient weight gain. The body needs to store fuel reserves as fat excess first when coming out of starvation, until it trusts enough to use those reserves for the repairs it deems less critical to bother with when it is in basic survival mode.
Aiming much higher in weight and recovery terms will give my brain more opportunities to rewire fully and completely. Continuing to ensure I am eating high amounts, all foods and pushing well out of my comfort zones will further rewire my brain in its entirety. I do not want to be a case of ‘recovered but…’.
I also need to reduce my relapse risk. Staying in quasi recovery, it is all too easy to let old patterns creep back in and before you know it – back to square one. Aiming for overshoot will ultimately ensure I have reserves in every sense and ensure I am repeating and repeating healthy recovery behaviours long term.
To feel freedom to be social and to continue to build the life I want to live and the life I don’t just want but actually really do need.
And very importantly to me, I also want to be a role model to my peers, friends, colleagues etc. Everywhere I look I see the influences of diet culture -making people feel inadequate at best and triggering dangerous eating disorders at worse. I want to be a body positive, anti-diet culture, food loving, fun and fabulous role model… Definitely not something I can do when in the depths of a restrictive eating disorder!!
Full recovery here I come!!
Aiming high and aiming fast, which I know is going to be another rollercoaster journey and not at all easy to execute. If anything, I can predict this is going to be harder than the initial phase of recovery and weight gain I went through but I know I don’t have a choice and I have to do this.
And to achieve my goals above – what will I do?
Well – keep it simple. Eat as much as I can, aiming high each and every day.
Face even more challenges in terms of foods, situations, flexibility.
Avoid engaging in less than necessary movement and ultimately let the weight gain happen and be proud of my rolls of fat and cellulite!
Having made this decision, I’ll be honest that I am terrified. I delayed posting this because I wasn’t sure I can do this…
But when I made this decision, despite the terror and knowing it is going to be tough (to say the least, aiming for weight gain when the rest of the population will be in January ‘diet’ mode)… I also felt relief and the despair lifted just slightly. Deep down I know it’s the right thing.
If I was recovering from another serious illness and weight gain was an essential side effect of treatment – I might not like it but to be well I would accept it, as would people around me. This recovery from a dangerous eating disorder has to be treated the same way and it will be.
My recovery journey will therefore be continuing… and I have found renewed determination and a commitment to make FULL recovery happen!