Three years ago I was going through one of my worst relapses. I was injured post my second full marathon and worried that I’d never truly be able to recover from my eating disorder.
I’d made it three or four months without purging (my hallmark of a relapse) many times. I’d made it eight months once. But more than that? I’d deemed it impossible.
Two years and a little less than two months ago I spent a night in the emergency room alone. I was in incredible pain. It felt like knives had lodged in my small intestine and my entire insides were burning thanks to some nasty inflammation left behind from years of purging. I was in a hospital in Alexandria Virginia, an hour form my apartment and more than 8 hours from my family. I’d been to the ER for similar pains before (in fact I spent much of my senior year of college like that), but I’d never been there alone.
It scared me.
It scared me that I had nobody to rely on. It scared me that I had to drive home after they gave me more pain medication than was probably safe. It scared me that I was 22-years-old and still struggling with ED. It scared me a lot.
The next day, wasn’t easy and neither was the one after that. I had days where I stood in the bathroom, gripping the counter top willing myself to be strong. I had days when I walked for hours outside talking on the phone with my mom and dad so I wouldn’t be tempted to binge or purge. I cried, a lot. I listened to my friends and family when they told me they loved me. I listened to myself when I told myself I was hungry.
And I ate.
I learned to be an intuitive eater and runner (if that’s a thing). I learned how lucky I was to have the body I did. For the first time ever, I felt blessed to be tall, blessed to have broad shoulders, blessed to have big feet and ankles that never sprain. I learned to take rest days when my body needed it and also to push through my doubts and allow myself to try during a race again.
I poured myself into my work, my family, my friends AND my recovery. I made time for that. I made time for sleep, snacks, walks for the heck of it, crafting and Friday nights without every minute scheduled. I finally let myself believe that free time can be a good thing.
Thanks to the Life with ED, the podcast community, I learned that full recovery is POSSIBLE! Truly.
ED doesn’t come with me to work anymore. He doesn’t accompany me to bed. He isn’t lurking in the kitchen or out on the trails. He’s popped up occasionally, but it’s becoming easier and easier to roll my eyes at his lame excuses.
This is the type of recovery I want for everyone. They type of food freedom that is possible for everyone.
Are you with me?
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