“I’ve never said ‘why me?’. That’s life. I try to keep a positive attitude. If you start feeling sorry for yourself, that’s when it gets bad. ~Rick Schwartz
In recovery, it can be extremely difficult to recognize all of the positive things that it gives you. Additionally, it can be even harder to actually feel good about new progress and meeting weekly goals. Iti is so easy to sulk and adopt a “woe-is-me”/eeyore demeanor on most days. Trust me, I’ve had myh share of them and know that more are ahead of me. For me, a large part of myself still grimaces when my nutritionist states that I’m recovering every Monday when I see her. I don’t feel proud, but I understand that will come more with time. I understand that I am still in the process shedding my identity of my eating disorder and trying to discover who I am without it.
However, I do experience moments where I am better able to feel okay with the incredible positive difference I notice in living in recovery instead of the eating disorder. I think what you choose to focus on—either the positive or the negative—greatly impacts the amount of your perceived difficulty toward daily recovery choices. So, in attempts to prolong my more positively oriented state of mind, I’d like to share all of the positive things I have noticed in myself since I started to choose recovery over my eating disorder.
I am not as cold as I used to be. Before, I hated being too far from my space heater, needed 3-4 layers to keep warm on, and I hated the thought being or going anywhere where I would need to spend any extended amount of time walking or being outside. I also often drank a larger number of warm teas and coffees just so I could warm myself and my hands up.
I am sleeping better than I have since I can remember. Before, I would struggle to actually fall asleep and repeatedly wake up every hour.
The appearance of my eyes, skin, and hair are definitely improving with each week. Before, my eyes were red, dry and bloodshot. My skin a dry, cracked and ashy grey and my hair dry, brittle, and coming out in clumps. Now, my skin has a healthier and softer glow, my eyes are hydrated and whiter and my hair is shiner, softer, and I’m no longer losing it in clumps.
The newfound energy I have is incredible. Before, making it through each day was a feat. Walking from class to class, a flight of stairs, cleaning the house, and even getting ready and showering took SO much my energy. Now, I am getting things done more quickly and still have energy left over. I also am better able to enjoy the various errands of my daily life instead of dreading the thought of the fact of doing them. I thought I had all the energy and vigor in the world when I was the most afflicted with my eating disorder, BOY do I stand corrected.
I am actually present, listening and engaging in the conversations I have. Before, it was almost as if the person who was talking to me had a pillow over their mouth. It was so incredibly difficult to keep my concentration on what they were saying because my mind would be figuring out the next time I would allow myself to eat, when I could engage in other symptoms, how best else to please my eating disorder and food food food food food. Now, despite recovery occupying a portion of my concentration. I am able to focus and maintain my concentration completely on the person talking to me. Further, I am able to provide my insight, thoughts, and other commentary to the discussion in a way I know I haven’t been for a really long time.
My heart has finally begun to beat and act normally. Before recovery, Daily, my heart would skip beats, speed up to incredible rates, slow down and become soft, and have the occasional THUMP/THUMP firm beats. Chest pain was also something I experienced. Sadly, much of this I kept to myself for fear of racking up more hospital debt, worry, and the possibility that it might land me in inpatient. Out of all the positive things I have been realizing, this one I am actually relieved to be experiencing. When you obsessively check your heartbeat and are afraid to go to sleep, the stress and anxiety that is relieved when you don’t have a need to be as afraid is quite profound. The daily fear of “will my heart stop?/not go back to normal this time/have a heart attack? Is crippling. I don’t want to experience that fear again.
I have the energy to make, foster and maintain my relationships. Before, every single relationship I had was struggling. My relationship with my husband, my mom, my best friend, and my dad had been severely affected. If I had my way, last December, I would have loved to have been left completely alone. Looking back, I know that was my eating disorder’s plan to further control my will and my life to make itself stronger. Tending to and improving my relationships has been scary, but at the same time, so fulfilling. Your eating disorder knows just how much help relationships can be to you and your healthy identity. Thus, it will do everything it can to isolate you to hide you from this truth. Don’t let it fool you into thinking otherwise. I let it fool me. Luckily, the incredible love and patience of my husband and the people that matter most to me prevailed through my isolation. I am so incredible grateful for them. I know, with all my heart, that I would not be making my way through this crazy thing called recovery without them. They all have played a tremendous role, and the important thing to note is that I am letting and allowing them to play such a role.
I feel as though I could write so much more but I feel as though I hit most of the main ones. Recovery can suck. It can suck A LOT. Its uncomfortable, new, weird, and everything in between. But it is also good, and I feel as though there isn’t as much emphasis on the good. Hence, this post. I hope you guys enjoyed.