At times, they won't understand.
You see pictures of yourself on their phones, tracking your figure, your weight, as if they were the first and last signs of anorexia and recovery, the only signs of full health. Believing that each pound adds a piece of their daughter, their friend, their girl back. You hear them asking why you’re not going out tonight. You feel them wonder when you’re going back to work. You sense their judgment and skepticism every time you say you’re tired. You receive messages from loved ones advising you to engage more, to push yourself, to try things outside your imagination. Your friends are impatient for you to put your dancing shoes back on and be the heart of the party (just like the old days), others don’t get it why you don’t want to do things, a few will find the new you boring and check out. All this pressure to be your old self; as much as you pray, dream and wish for that person to be back, you know that pushing yourself in that direction will not revive your past spirits, your lost soul.
You need something new, something different, something no one will understand. You have been stripped of your identity and finding yourself is scary. It’s exposing. It feels shameful. For now, you just exist. You reminisce over the past, you’re scared about the future and you cruise the present. But without any meaning, this idea of living in the now is a lie. You don’t live. You exist, most of the time, alone.
You know your friends, family and peers’ thoughts, messages, suggestions and what not, all come from a place of love, a place of support, a place of care. But the unintentional lack of understanding about what recovery from an eating disorder really feels like, leads these considerations to fail delivering their purpose. They achieve quite the opposite in fact; sadly, they make you feel worse. Indeed, these people are nudging you towards all the same things you’ve been longing and wishing for. Imagining yourself engaging in life like they do, like you have in the past feels like some great fantasy. This is what they can’t understand, why would they? You cannot blame them; at best, you pretend. But more often, you step back. You no longer respond. You stay silent. You shut off.
Recovery is not about looking healthy; it is about feeling healthy, physically, but more importantly so, mentally, to be able to live life, to live your life, to live your life fully, to live your life fully and unconditionally.