Recovery doesn’t always feel good but it’s worth it in the end

I have sat here for a long time, staring at my screen, tapping away to start a sentence, and repeatedly deleting it. You probably identify with this feeling. My hesitancy is because I am trying not to deter you from my main goal, recovery.

I want to talk about recovery. Many people talk about the path to recovery and afterwards, but this post’s focus is on the journey itself. I sometimes become so preoccupied with maintaining recovery that I feel myself getting lost in it.

I am in the phase of weight restoration. It took about one year to get here, and it took a simple step onto a dreaded cold square for reality to hit hard. I sit; while I take a breath, I tell myself it’s okay before I step onto the scale; the numbers on the scale from my routine weigh-in were right under my nose. It’s daunting and fearful, but I look down to see my new, improved self, feeling like I have been kicked in the gut.

It took one little tick over on the scale to change my entire thought process, self-esteem, and mood. If I were to put on my Doc Martins, the shoes I love the most, would I feel the same? That weight is about the same as the amount that has just tipped me into a new healthy BMI. I can take the boots off, and the weight is lifted. Why can I accept myself wearing the boots, but not without them? I am still me.

I cry. I feel a rush of blood throughout my body with the need to remove myself from my skin, and every negative thought is shouting at me. Suddenly I become hyper-aware of every part of myself and the clothing on me, and I try to stretch the elastic on my shorts. After this panic attack, I take time to think, which makes me vulnerable to the dangerous ED voice.

Loss of identity

I feel a loss of identity, anorexia is all I am in my mind, and now I am left wondering where I belong and who I am. I sit there and look down at myself, and tears fall. However, this time my tears are falling for something else … after years of self-talking to myself, with no result, out of nowhere, I receive the most beautiful apology said to me, by me.

Out of the blue, I look down, cry, feel horrible about my new body, and internally say, I’m so sorry, you didn’t deserve that; you’re beautiful. I pause; while I feel no better, I know how far I must have come to have told myself this without prompting myself to do so, and I smile through my discomfort and my pain. Furthermore, I eat my breakfast still, even with thoughts of intense wants to restrict myself; I did not come this far and go through the hellish ordeal of repeating that piece of insanity.

At the start of a new beginning

I am a healthy BMI, but I am far from physically ‘there’. I am still out of energy and fatigued, have heart palpitations, I still cannot sleep, and I still have self-loathing moments. The truth is that when I feel down about my restoration, I am becoming healthy. That glimmer of hope came from crying and feeling as low as I did with my anorexia shrieking at me.

I heard the truth through it all and told myself I am beautiful and not deserving of the hatred the illness has caused me to feel towards myself, and for that, I am proud.

I am at the start of a new beginning that I am not quite used to yet, and it’s okay to feel this way. Try to drown out the negative thoughts and hold onto that one positive thought over the 100 negative ones. Quality over quantity, and that goes for weight restoration as well. The quality of life I will have over the amount I weigh is so much more important to me.

If you cannot find those words inside your mind today to tell yourself that you’re beautiful and deserving, I am telling you now that you are.

– Sarah Kathleen

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