Photo by Pixabay. Written by Sophie Smith
When I started recovering from my eating disorder, it was so hard to imagine what my life would be like afterwards. For many years, my eating disorder was a part of me, and I became convinced that this is who I was. At the start of recovery, I didn’t know how I would live without all my rules and was scared that without my eating disorder, I wouldn’t perform so well in other areas of my life, particularly at university. I definitely wasn’t 100% ready to recover, but people rarely are! If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll probably be waiting your whole life. Part of my hesitation to recover came from the fact that I wasn’t sure if my life would even be better when I was recovered. But sitting here writing this today, I can tell you that recovery is 100% worth it. It doesn’t suddenly make your life perfect or stop bad things from happening. But there are so many ways in which my life has changed since I’ve recovered that I want to share with everyone, in the hopes that it will inspire you to keep going in the knowledge that life after an eating disorder is something to fight for.
- I can go to restaurants without being worried about the food and I’m able to enjoy myself. Likewise, I can go to music concerts, the cinema and on holidays without the dark cloud of my eating disorder ‘raining’ on the experience and making me anxious.
- I’ve learned to eat intuitively again, and I can enjoy my favourite foods without the side of guilt that use to accompany them.
- Spontaneity has returned to my life. Although I still like to plan things out, if I want, I can easily change my plans or stop everything and go and do something fun without my eating disorder holding me back.
- My mood isn’t determined by how much I weigh. I threw out my scales a few months into recovery and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I no longer need to know how much I weigh, and it doesn’t affect my day.
- The ability to be fully present and create memories. I actually struggle to remember a lot of things from when I had my eating disorder, likely because my brain was so preoccupied with eating disorder thoughts, that I didn’t have the mental capacity to create lasting memories. But now I take comfort in the fact that I’ll be able to remember my experiences and create lasting memories that aren’t tainted by my eating disorder.
- The relationships I have with important people in my life have improved. My eating disorder often made me miserable, grumpy and generally not a very nice person to be around. This was fuelled by underlying emotions of guilt, anxiety and fear. Now that my eating disorder and all the daily negative emotions that came with it are gone, I’m generally a more pleasant person to be around! I’ve found that I’ve become more generous, compassionate and flexible and that I’ve reclaimed my true authenticity and personality.