Eating Disorders. The Recovery process is a hard road and the length of struggle varies depending on the person. Many wouldn’t dispute that there is no silver bullet. What may be controversial is my colleague, Jenni Schaefer’s concept that one can indeed recover fully from an Eating Disorder. But more and more, those who have previously suffered from eating disorders have accepted full recovery as a possibility– where an eating disorder is no longer “given a seat at the table” and the person who once succumbed to dangerous and unhealthy eating practices and poor body image no longer allows that ugly Gremlin to be in charge. Our teen blogger is currently celebrating the 2 year anniversary of her recovery journey and she is most certainly heading towards what she feels is full recovery. Congratulations, Rebecca. Here is where she is now:
Recover(ed) or at least a bit closer: On My Two-Year Anniversary of Starting Treatment for My Eating Disorder
By: Rebecca Tishman
Recovered. Well, maybe not quite but I’m definitely getting there.
Today, is my two-year anniversary of going to inpatient treatment. Thinking back to two years ago is frightening and brings a wave of emotions. The picture was bleak: Barely able to stand. Unable to keep up with friendships. Blacking out multiple times a day. Shivering even under layers upon layers of clothes. Yelling at my parents no matter what they said or did. Afraid of every food except for two. Angry at absolutely everything.
No glamorization here. I absolutely hate my eating disorder and wouldn’t want to go back to it even though it takes an excruciating amount of work to stay in recovery. It’s a daily battle but I’m willing to keep fighting it if it means one day my eating disorder will be gone for good. One day it will just be ME, living in an amazing and healthy body able to do anything I want.
Intuitive Eating. I thought I would never engage in that. When I was in treatment and people mentioned intuitive eating and gave us books to read about it I thought to myself “What the hell? Intuitive Eating doesn’t exist; I’m just going to go back to my eating disorder as soon as I leave this place anyway.” Well after two years on a very, very rigid meal plan, with certain exchanges to meet at every meal of the day, and another year or two before that on other meal plans, I am finally off of all meal plans! Boy does it feel amazing. I eat what I want, when I want, and don’t engage in ED behaviors. This past weekend with a friend of mine I was able to make macaroni and cheese and make an amazingly scrumptious blueberry and raspberry oat loaf. I remember just two years ago when I was forbidden by doctors and family members to cook anything! My how things have changed. I’m forcing them to change.
I’m actually listening to my body—a voice I blocked out for so long. I refuse to be my eating disorder any longer or adhere to the rules my eating disorder establishes. I am tuning in to my healthy body’s messages and relying on hunger cues. It’s bizarre and frightening to feel hunger, thirst, fullness, etc; all things that I turned off for many, many years.
Until recently, I confused hunger cues and thirst cues, unable to tell whether I needed to hydrate myself or eat something. It’s bizarre to not understand what is happening within your own body. Trust me. But now that I’m refusing to relapse, even though it would be so easy to just give up and go back to that life I described earlier (because it sounded so appealing, right?) I’m learning what hunger feels like and I eat when I feel those feelings inside. I stop when I’m full or have had enough.
If I don’t like what I took a bite of, I get something else. When I was following my meal plan, I didn’t listen to whether I liked the food or not, I ate what my meal plan told me to eat regardless of how it tasted. Not anymore. I’ve discovered I like a lot of food, there’s a lot I don’t like too. I’m rediscovering myself everyday—like a rebirth- and opening myself to new options.
I no longer load up my plate thinking;
- “What am I supposed to eat?”
- “How many starches do I need?”
- “Is this enough fat?”
- “Does this count as a protein?”
- “If I skip something now, do I have to make it up later?”
- “What if I’m overeating?”
- “What if I’m under-eating?”
Instead I think;
- “What am I hungry for?”
- “How hungry am I?”
- “ What do I want to eat?”
- “What tastes good?”
- “What do I remember liking the last time I tried it?”
That’s an inner dialogue I’ve enjoyed having over the past few weeks and I look forward to having for many more days and years to come.
I couldn’t be more excited to honor my two-year anniversary. I’m thrilled that I’ve made it this long in recovery. Though I’ve had moments, days, even weeks, where I was somewhat uncommitted to recovery and on the verge of a relapse, I’m still here in recovery and loving it. As my therapist put it on my birthday, my two-year anniversary this year is more of my birthday and the truth is, she’s right. This year I am two years old and I have a whole life ahead of me. All it takes is my commitment and I, for one, have no plans to waiver.
Recover(ed)…here I come.
Many congrats to our fabulous teen blogger, Rebecca Tishman. Please take a moment to react her Rebecca’s article here or on Facebook. No doubt she would love to hear from you.
Other articles by Rebecca: