Twenty-eight days ago I began my ‘real’ recovery. I took the plunge on committing to the Minnie Maud guidelines. Eleven days ago, I was fully enrolled in the guidelines and began eating 3000 calories as a minimum. Since then, the days have been a bumpy road of emotions.
During my period of quasi-recovery, when I was reading up on Minnie Maud, I did not think recovery would be as much of a bumpy ride for me as it was described – extreme hunger, bloating, water retention, tiredness, crazy emotions. Boy was I wrong. This last week has been tough, confusing and exhausting.
For many in recovery, they do not experience extreme hunger, some experience it a little, while for others its hits them hard. I’m one of the latter. It hit me on 31st of May and has not ceased since.
I eat breakfast. Then I eat more. Then I eat more. Then I feel physically full. Then I eat more. Sounds like binging, right? To all definitions of the word, yes. However, in our case, it is just our bodies screaming for more food, in fear that it will be deprived again. I like to imagine it like this: We’ve stopped our bodies from having enough food for a long period of time, and so, it has to compensate for this. All those missed chocolate bars? Must. Be. Eaten. All those missed pizzas? Must. Be. Eaten. All those tubs of ice cream? Must be eaten.
It explains why I crave Ben & Jerry’s so much – for months we had Cookie Dough ice cream in the freezer untouched by me. Do I crave pickles, celery and bell peppers? Not so much.
Extreme hunger feels uncontrollable. I constantly feel full but yet, I always feel empty. My brain doesn’t stop thinking about food. Its exhausting. I just want food all of the time.
I won’t lie. It is petrifying. It contradicts all my Anorexic ‘morals’ and controls. I fear my eating will never end. It will though. It will.
I am pregnant.
Okay, not literally.
I feel like I am though. My stomach protrudes so far that I almost can not see my feet. My butt is smaller than my stomach. I can assure you, this is not a sexy look. Not in the slightest.
I keep having tor reassure myself that this will pass. Its not a result of simply eating. The bloating is a consequence of starving myself because now I have to re-feed myself on ‘ridiculous’ amounts of food. When I am weight restored, the bloating will disappear and I can admire my feet again – WOOH.
This is the bane of recovery. I feel like a water balloon: heavy, wobbly, full of water and ready to burst.
My skin is tender. This makes receiving much-needed cuddles off my family a near impossibility.
My body looks like a Lego man. I have a square middle section, with four weird looking limbs and a puffy head. It kindly adds to the unattractiveness that the bloating already created.
On a more positive note, I like to think of it as kind of amazing. Our bodies know better than our logics. My body has responded to more food by healing me. Did I have to ask it to? Did I have to consciously make it repair the damage my Anorexia has left in its footpath? No. It knows what to do because it is evolved to carry out processes that will ensure living is optimal. Therefore, why would it ever let me become fat, if it wants what is best for me? Its wouldn’t. It won’t. If I trust my body, it will make me be healthy. I don’t need logic to achieve this.
The lethargic lifestyle has become common to me. I stay at home whenever possible, I laze around on the sofa and just eat.
I end up questioning, ‘how do I feel so tired when I am finally giving myself more energy?’. Turns out, it is because my body is repairing and restoring. It has a lot of food to process and a lot of damage to mend. I guess that just gives me a good excuse to not go to college then!
I still struggle to focus on information, conversations and tasks and so, my life consists of eating and resting. I suppose that is what recovery is all about, but man, it sucks sometimes.
One minute I am giggling at how I ate a whole loaf of bread. The next I am sobbing because my face is too puffy and I can’t see my feet.
It is frustrating. My emotions take me for a ride down a seriously bumpy road and when I am constantly exhausted it is the last thing I need.
I just have to bare with it and embrace the fact I am no longer numb but instead, I am experiencing. This is far better than ‘living’ through the haze of my Anorexia.
I am far from happy – that is something I hope to work through with my therapy – but being able to feel again is exhilarating, no matter whether it is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotion. I just have to sit through these emotions and ride them out.
All of these factors make riding the road of recovery a bumpy and uncertain journey. Recovery could, in no way, shape or form, be described as ‘easy’. Those of us in recovery are not only struggling with the concept of eating a lot more than our EDs permit, but also we are faced with these other struggles that may come as a bit of a slap in the face – sudden, painful and scary.
Staying at home seems necessary at this stage. How could I possibly enter public when all I do is eat, sleep and extreme emotions?! My greatest admirations is for anyone out there in recovery who is holding down a job, looking after kids or any other life role that does not include eating and sleeping. In have no idea how you manage it.
I feel this post may seem quite negative but honestly, there’s no other way to phrase it: Recovery Is Difficult. I feel like a toddler with a big cute round tum-tum and emotional tantrums.
However, I can reassure you that everyday in recovery, I remember just how dire and horrible it was to be in the depths of my Anorexia. it scares me that I lived there. It scares me that without recovery, I would still be there. It scares me that so many people out there are still in that distressing place. I wish that everyone chose recovery because it is worth it. Each day in recovery is miles better than any day with and Eating Disorder. Consequently, I will face these struggles head on because I want to feel alive again.
Bring it on.