Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

recovery hurts

I found this little icon on a friend’s page on facebook.  Have no idea how to make it bigger.  But it sparked a message to her, and in my typical fashion, it was long-winded, but of course sparked an idea for a blog entry.

I wish I could tell you that this icon is a crock of bull.  That recovery is awesome and “OMG IT’S SO EASY!!!!” (in all caps, too!)  But telling you that would actually be a crock of bull.  Being recovered is awesome and it’s the best thing ever.  But the process of getting there?  Sort of hurts like hell.  And I don’t really believe in sugar coating things, so here was my message to my friend:

In the beginning, recovery hurts like hell.  Because everything is new and unfamiliar and you are learning a lot of stuff for the first time ever. And it’s hard. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do. But it gets easier and begins to hurt less and less over time. And eventually, it comes naturally. And doesn’t hurt at all. And then the day comes when it actually starts to feel good and you come to realize it’s the best thing ever. I wish I could tell people that you get from wanting recovery to the feeling like it’s the best thing ever by making one decision and BAMM you’re there, but that would be a lie. It’s a process, and it does hurt at various points along the way. But even though my days have been hell lately, with the pain and frustrating doctors and cancelled surgery, they are nothing compared to the hell of the eating disorder. As my friend said, “Your hellish days are now just Purgatory Days” (whereas the eating disorder days were Hell Days) and he is so very right.

And it may seem odd that I’m telling you this, seeing as how I push for recovery and write about the recovered life, but like I said, I don’t believe in sugar coating things.  It really was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life.  And it’s the thing I am most proud of doing.  But it took time.  Even after I knew deep down in the core of myself that I wanted recovery, I still had to do the hard work and open up issues I would have preferred to never ever talk about and confront a lot of fears.  The decision to recover does not automatically change your life.  It is the beginning of that change.

I recently started a new profile on facebook because the drama on my own FB page, the page that my family and in-laws see, was getting a bit over the top.  And it didn’t seem to matter what I said because everyone else was more interested in debating ME than I was.  So the debate is gone (from my fb page at least!).  And this new profile is open to everybody and I had one person write me and say he’d like to be my friend but he’s not in recovery yet.  I wrote him back explaining that that’s okay with me.  And a couple of friends have multiple profiles–one for family to see and one where they can say what they want about the ED without family members freaking out.  And I can appreciate that.  My response to one friend was:

I don’t care where you are in recovery as long as you keep that thought that maybe someday you might want it. I’d be lying if I said in the early part of my recovery I still didn’t look at thinspiration and hate myself and fear food, etc. It’s normal. People don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Eating disorders and recovery each have dualities that contradict each other but exist at the same time.

This is something that a lot of people on the pro-recovery side of things don’t want to admit or discuss.  But it is true.  While I was active at Something Fishy, I knew a hell of a lot of the “fishies” there also visited pro-ana sites while using the Something Fishy forums.  Again, it would be a bunch of bull if I said that once you decide to want recovery, all those other voices and urges and thoughts disappeared.  If that were true, more people would hop on the recovery bandwagon and never look back.  But again, it’s a process.  And letting go of what you know, what is familiar, takes time.  So if you tell me in one post that you want to get better and then I get another post about you wanting to lose weight, I don’t get all up in arms and shout, “I THOGHT YOU WANTED TO GET BETTER?????” You probably still DO want to get better, and you DO want to lose weight.  The two thoughts/feelings can co-exist at the very same time.  It’s actually quite normal for it to be so.

So yes, recovery hurts.  It’s hard work.  It’s a process of moving forward and back and getting scared and clinging to what is familiar and then letting go bit by bit and then maybe clinging again and then maybe letting go again and all of this takes time.  I will always encourage you to let go of the eating disorder, and I will always hope it takes less rather than more time, but I can’t fault anyone for taking time.  I took time.  But I’m here now.  And I will welcome you with open arms whenever you decide to join me, be it tomorrow, next week, or next year.


July 5, 2010 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. recovery hurts…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by Mental Disorders 101 | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. you’re well spoken AND honest. thank god for you. 🙂 😉 i agree with everything you have said. i am very honest with my ED (perhaps to the point of giving in to the ED itself-from the “place” i am in, it is easy to just be discouraged and say “i am honest in saying i won’t try because i don’t think i’ll ever get over this, and yes i recognize the self-fullfiling prophecy of that (honesty once again!)

    ..i somehow missed the facebook drama despite being so active on facebook. if you want to, message me about what happened.. otherwise nm.


    Comment by Janie | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  3. ….actually, i have a lot more to say about this. things doctors have said to me, different perspectives that diff. health professionals take in treating EDs (approaches which work vs. don’t work for me, personally), my own thoughts about why i believe i am so terrified to try recovery.

    but this isn’t the place for me to publicize all that..perhaps i could message you on fb and you could give me advice/thoughts? :p

    Comment by Janie | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  4. im so happy that i found your blog, you have such a way with words

    Comment by World War Mia | July 16, 2010 | Reply

    • thanks, Mia, I’m glad you found this as well. Hope you continue to find this site useful

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 16, 2010 | Reply

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