Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Full Recovery


from deviantart.com again by Queen666

from deviantart.com again by Queen666

My previous entry was about trigger warnings, and our need to be able to cope with the world around us.  A day or two later I received a “question” on my Questions page.  It’s not really worded as a question.  After a thinly disguised non-description (where we are told of her physical symptoms, size, and severity of illness) of the individual’s own disorder, s/he lets  me know:

 I’m tired of hearing of people being cured of eating disorders. There’s not such thing. You may go in remission but you’ll battle your weight for the rest of your life. Eating disorders have been called the most fatal mental illness, and they are. I discovered that bipolar disorder type II is often associated with bulimia nervosa, while bipolar type I is often associated with anorexia nervosa. Schizophrenia is often a co-morbidity.

Yes.  Eating Disorders do have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.  However, that does not automatically mean that you can’t recover.  I was not cured of my eating disorder.  There was no “magic fix” or “magic pill.”  I took a couple years and worked my ass off to first enter “remission” and then I decided that I didn’t want anorexia to be part of my life–at all.

I do not “battle my weight.”  I haven’t in eight years.  My weight naturally fluctuates because of a variety of reasons: time of year, condition of my heart (physical, not emotional), condition of my heart (the emotional one this time), medication changes, illness, and my level of depression.  However, these natural fluctuations keep me in my healthy weight range: a range where I’ve found my body physically functions best.  I keep track of my weight because of the different doctors I see and because I do not see the point in stepping on the scale backwards when the doctor and I have to be able to openly discuss my weight because the dose of one of my medications is determined by my weight.

I don’t think about my “meal plan.”  I eat when I’m hungry.  I stop when I am full.  If I am physically ill and don’t feel like eating, I try to eat small things and drink a lot throughout the day–not to manage my weight, but to give my body energy to beat whatever is currently ailing me.

I don’t have a list of foods I’m not “allowed” to eat.  (Except gluten and dairy, but that’s determined by my intestines, not my mind.)  I don’t have a list of “good foods” or “bad foods.”  Food is food.  I eat it if it tastes good.  It’s a pretty simple decision.

I do worry about exercise.  I have for six years now, ever since my genetic heart condition was diagnosed and I had my ICD put in.  I want to exercise because it helps my depression and mood stability and it helps the rest of my body.  I have to be very careful about what I choose to do and when because exercise actually harms my heart.  When I look at my old exercise habits, I laugh at what the Old Me would have thought about my current activity level.  “Yoga?  Slow walks?  They don’t count as exercise.”  But now they do, and I’m more familiar with my body now than ever before.

My clothes fit me.  I don’t care what size they are.  I don’t compare myself to the models in ads.  I don’t stare into the mirror for hours, trying to decide how to make my body “better.”

I am not “managing symptoms.”  I live in this body and I care for it, and my mind is finally free to take in all that life has to offer.

So why do I keep this blog?  Because of the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.  Because I’ve had to stop counting the number of friends I’ve lost to eating disorders–the number was getting too high.  Because I have friends who are still struggling.  Because I meet people who confide that they are struggling and don’t know what to do.

Because when I was sick, I was given the lie that you could never truly recover from an eating disorder and I didn’t know of anyone who was fully recovered.

Because a partial recovery was just not good enough for me.  If I was going to work my ass off to heal, I wanted to heal.

Because I wanted to live, and I am.

Because other people need to know this healing is possible.

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May 14, 2015 - Posted by | bipolar disorder, Body Image, coping, death, depression, Eating Disorders, health, heart, progress, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this. I read your blog regularly, and am in very early recovery. I’m still in PHP but stepping down to transitional living after a full year in the program I’ve been in – they didn’t tell me, like so many have, that my chronicity means that I cannot recover. My recovery isn’t perfect but I’m stronger than I ever have been. I got to 28 days with behaviors- the longest I ever have in PHP – and had a slip last night. But I’m learning what I can from it, trying to assess why it happened as best I can, and picking myself back up as quickly as possible and moving on. Maybe this time I’ll make it to a full month. No beating myself up or telling myself I’m hopeless, and while I often have thoughts that I’m kidding myself to imagine I can reach full recovery, I try to diffuse from those thoughts and tell myself differently through my actions.
    Anyway, your entry helped me. I’m 25 years old now – maybe by 35 I’ll be able to say that I’m fully recovered. I hope so.
    I also relate very much to dealing with a co occurring mental illness. I struggle with bipolar disorder with severe, major depressive episodes as well. Thank god we’ve found some medications that help, at long last, but the depressive episodes still happen. This last one lasted five days instead of years, and I’m so grateful. Once I told myself that suicide was no longer an option, my only option has been to keep moving forward and doing the best that I can. And I do.

    Comment by Sofia | May 14, 2015 | Reply

    • good for you! And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in treatment or will be in treatment; this has no bearing on whether or not you can recover. It seems to me that you’re rather persistent regarding treatment, and that’s awesome! Slips will happen along the way. It took many attempts before I made it to one year without self-harm. First a couple of months, then I lengthened it to a few months, then I’d slip, and then go back to a few months, then several months, and then after years and years of trying, I made it one year self-harm free. Every time I relapsed, I learned something and then used that knowledge to help me get better. We are a work in progress.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | May 14, 2015 | Reply

  2. Hah, withOUT behaviors. Whoops.

    Comment by Sofia | May 14, 2015 | Reply


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