If you’re reading this, the chances are that you are in battle with a restrictive eating disorder. Thus, I assume, wrongly or rightly, the title may strike a chord with you.
Restrictive eating disorders make us competitive. I find myself comparing my situation to other’s: “Am I as ‘bad’ as them?”. Its a downward spiral, fuelled by my Anorexia’s goal of being in infinite control.
The ‘best’ Anorexia grips someone so tightly that they die.
Yet a dead person can no longer be in the grips of Anorexia.
Thus, the Anorexia has ‘failed’.
There is no ‘level’ to an Eating Disorder. We don’t deserve to recover at a certain weight, after a certain number of hospital admissions, after a certain length of time suffering… We deserve to be happy. Eating disorders are miserable and we are all at this ‘level’. Its not a measure that needs comparing. No numbers can tell us we are ‘bad’ enough to recover. Only we can tell ourselves that we deserve recovery and WE ALL DO.
It angers me that doctors imply something different. They don’t seem to be bothered unless we are at a critical weight and hence, people across the country at a ‘healthy’ weight are suffering, and even dying, from eating disorders because the doctor doesn’t see a requirement to help them.
I was shown a BMI chart the other week. It told me what ‘level’ my Anorexia was. My disordered mind told me that I want to be at the lowest level possible. Disappearing into nothing. Ultimately death.
This chart is all kinds of wrong. I want to be happy. I deserve to be happy. Whether I am on the lowest BMI/Anorexia level or not even apparently on the spectrum, if I am even questioning whether I am ‘bad’ enough, I have a problem. I am worthy of recovery. No doctor or chart or number can tell me any different.
So, here are four precious pieces of advice I give to myself. You may take it on board yourself if you wish…
- Take yourself seriously. Your struggles are real, individual and not to be downplayed by your ED.
- See it as a positive thing that your misery did not result in a worse situation – I am so lucky to have never been admitted to hospital. Hospital is best left as a last resort.
- Remember recovery is your own. It does not compare to anything or anyone else. So own it. Its yours. Be proud of it.
- It will not construct a healthy recovery to strive to be ‘more ill’. Strive to be living life. That’s where the good stuff is at.
“No matter how fat or thin you are, no matter how old or young you are, if your eating is fucked up, then it’s fucked up. You need help, and care, and love, but most importantly it’s got to come from yourself, too.”