Doing Things Differently (and why quasi recovery doesn’t really work)

Hi all!! Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, I just moved back to school and have been super busy getting adjusted. I’m learning to apply everything I’ve learned (and am still learning) from treatment to my recovery at school, and I am so beyond satisfied with life right now.

Recovery is by far one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve spent the past 107 days in treatment- crying, eating, crying some more, fighting with staff, group after group after group, and essentially learning how to live again. And as much as it’s sucked to have a nonconventional and seemingly “unproductive” summer, it was exactly what I needed.

I’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder since my junior year of high school- we’re hitting three years now. In the past three years, I’ve seen therapists and dietitians, attended support groups and therapy groups, and truly thought I was in recovery. But I wasn’t. So this time, I decided to do things differently. I decided to be honest. I decided to trust my team. And most importantly, I decided to try giving up my eating disorder completely.

Quasi recovery is essentially what it sounds like- half recovery. I existed in that world until I was admitted to Renfrew this summer. I dabbled in “healthy eating” (read: clean eating aka only eating safe foods), weightlifting, and fitness. But eating disorders are, while not only about bodies, so focused on shape, size, weight, and measurements. So by moving from a full-blown eating disorder to an obsession with protein, weight lifting, cardio, and changing my body in a more socially-acceptable way, I stayed sick. That’s not to say that this is always disordered, because it’s clearly not. I’m surrounded by girls at school who are motivated and strong, who listen to their bodies, exercise because they want to, and fuel themselves with what sounds good to them. But for right now, that just can’t be me. If you’re in recovery, it’s so easy to move from restriction (or any other behavior) to a more “normal” one that’s more prevalent in society, but that does NOT mean it’s appropriate or safe for someone in recovery.

This summer, I came clean. I talked about how exercise was no longer fun for me, it was something I felt that I had to do. I talked about how I felt out of control if I wasn’t lean and if I had more fat on me than I wanted. I talked about how fats and carbs terrified me, how all I ate was low/nonfat items and how I had not had a slice of pizza in years. And by admitting that, I became really vulnerable. My treatment team and family knew, and began challenging me.

I went four months without exercise (except a few walks), and I started following a meal plan that included starches and added fats at every single meal and snack. My body has changed a lot, and that was always my biggest fear. But I’m still here and alive and honestly, my body and the rules I used to live by are a much smaller concern now. I’m doing things differently.

I’m no longer in quasi recovery- I’m in full recovery, and it is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever lived. The girl who wouldn’t touch carbs with a ten foot pole ate pasta three days in a row this weekend. The girl who couldn’t imagine not lifting hasn’t set foot in a gym in months. The girl who thought her world would end if she gave up the control of her eating disorder, is seeing this life in an entirely different light.

Recovery is not all rainbows and sunshine. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s fighting my eating disorder in my head several times a day, following my meal plan even if it means eating more than others around me, and feeling really uncomfortable things. But when I was existing in quasi recovery, I was by no means living. I was trading one set of rules for another, and that is absolutely no way to thrive.

Before I entered treatment, a friend told me that once I hit a sustainable place in my recovery, I wouldn’t want to turn back to my eating disorder. I said okay, but I didn’t believe her. It took a lot of time/work/tears, but today, I promise she’s right- life is hard and scary and challenging, but it is so much more beautiful than life with an eating disorder.

Thank you for reading and supporting me.

Love, Jordan

 

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