No black sheep in full recovery.
We all want to be special, pull off something grand, be the exception to the rule. Anorexia almost made it possible. Almost, because through some mystical enlightenment, we realize that our superpower is in fact not sustainable. We see a choice, a tragic one: we can stay on the miserable path, or we can give in and eat. I intentionally don’t say, “recover”, because we don’t see ourselves as ill yet. We are able to grasp, at last, that continuing to starve will lead us to death, so we decide to give up thinness. We agree to surrender this super special asset of warding off hunger. While this illuminating moment carries a strong “fuck it” attitude as we scream for change, once we dip our toes in letting go of the illness, we often want to reclaim the “special” title. Maybe we can stay “special”. Maybe we can pull off gaining just enough weight. Maybe the rules of weight restoration don’t apply to us.
The inner silent negotiations - I have been there, so let me pause, as I am about to share something you will hear over and over and still, never enough. When it comes to getting rid of the disorder, the real deal, the full recovery, the awesome state you want to be at, the peak you will soon long to reach: you are no different than any other sufferer. There are no exceptions, no special rules, and no negotiations in freeing yourself from the long held chains. Working to accept this the sooner you can, will save you unnecessary stalling and redundant pain.
The most empowering flashes in recovery happen when you recall this type of advice and have that “Aha!” moment, that “I fucking get it!!” insight, that “wish I recognized it sooner” vision, that “if only I reasoned like this more often” thinking.
But know that this is your journey, and whatever time you need to reach back surface is absolutely ok. If there is a part of you that is open to getting some use of all this – something to believe in – then, the message to take home is that the “fuck it” attitude is the one to take. Fuck the weight gain and surrender. Fuck “the voice” and relinquish all control. Fuck the discomfort, fuck the tears, fuck the anxiety. They are all fucking ephemeral.
I know it doesn’t happen like that. We don’t miraculously snap out of it because someone tells us to get over ourselves. But I’d say that reading and hearing over and again these sorts of raw encouragements can help a bit. Sure helps more than some ignorant doctor’s advice to just eat, or worse yet, to hit the gym and build an appetite.
No, anorexia doesn’t make you special and no, you can’t be the exception to the rule if you choose to fully recover. But by doing the work, what you will achieve is indeed grand. It is more than you ever envisioned. But who am I to tell you…in choosing to read this, you’re choosing recovery. So keep up the perseverance and see for yourself.