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The Damage

Image-5-Eating Disorder Relapse-from the couch ofTwo nights ago I ate half a jar of almond butter, two bowls of cereal, and the whole bag of trail mix. The night before that I didn’t eat dinner. The truth is, recovery looks a lot like relapse.

The truth is, recovery looks a lot like relapse.

When I went to eating disorder treatment for the first time I felt obligated to have the perfect recovery. I ate every meal and snack to completion, I gained the weight and kept the melt downs to a minimal, even though my therapist would probably disagree. I wanted so desperately to bust free from rehab and go to the bathroom without a “bathroom buddy” that I probably would have done and said anything.

By the time I discharged I felt so emotionally and physically stuffed that in all honesty I stopped at the Starbucks by my apartment and ate them out of pumpkin loaf and threw up before I even unpacked my treatment goody bag.

I recap my experience not to illustrate that treatment doesn’t work because trust me, it does, I recap my experience to illustrate that eating disorders are a mind game and not to sound cliché but recovery is a process.

Every day, scratch that, every meal feels like a balancing act. Am I eating enough to where I’m not restricting? Or did I eat just a little too much that I feel like I’ve binged? I rarely feel like I strike the perfect balance and somedays I say “fuck it” to the whole game because it’s exhausting.

Every day, scratch that, every meal feels like a balancing act.

The problem is, you can only say screw the game for so long, eventually your body will gravitate towards food, eventually you’ll pull your head out of the toilet and the relapse will pass.

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I feel like I can say with confidence that I’m actually pretty terrible at recovery and really good at relapse but I think that makes sense. Restriction and binging produces a high that makes me feel invincible so why wouldn’t I want to recreate that? Nowadays, I try really, really, hard not to recreate that high because I’ve found things in life that believe it or not are more enjoyable than Shredded Mini Wheats, Lucky Charms, the list goes on and on.

My husband, my family, all of you taking time to read my rambling are far more satisfying than any binge or meal skipped. (I still crave a good workout, Imma working on it.)

I think I felt compelled to write this post because whatever you might be navigating in life, whatever battle you may be fighting, for the love, just fight it. I’m confused when perfection became a standard and why anything less than is total failure or relapse. Had I heard early on that there is no “perfect” or “right” way to recover from an eating disorder I probably would have saved my parents a boatload of money.

…there is no “perfect” or “right” way to recover from an eating disorder…eating disorders are a mind game and not to sound cliché but recovery is a process.

I like to do things right and I like to do things well. I think we all do. When I plan out every meal, calculate every calorie and workout, I relapse. But when I stop searching for perfect and instead start fighting that’s when I find recovery.