I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.
Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.
Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.
But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.
And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.
We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.
We never know when the bus is coming.
1. Bloating is going to happen. Your body is severely undernourished and although it needs the food so much to repair, it will find it difficult to digest at first. This will last a few months to a year or even more. But it is temporary, it will not last. Recovery will be worth it, being in misery with an ED is not.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others in recovery. This is YOUR recovery and YOUR life. You do not have to eat clean, you do not have to eat what any one else is eating. Different things work for different people. Similarly, you cannot compare yourself to non disordered eaters. You do not know their regular eating habits, you only see what they eat with you, I assure you if they are completely normal and healthy, they will eat the same and if not more than you.
3. You are the person responsible. At the end of they day, doctors and parents and friends can beg you to get better but you are in charge. Only you have the power to change your outlook and recovery. If your parents don’t remind you to eat, eat. It will be better in the long run, you are strong enough, I promise.
4. Your diagnosis is not you. You are more than a mix of letters. You have so much more potential and life than an eating disorder. It is an unwanted guest not a permanent part of you. Maybe take up some fun (non strenuous) activities, craft, music, writing? Discover your real passions. You were not made to lose weight. You can be free, you can be you, keep fighting.
5. Have a relapse plan. Sometimes you will have bad days and you will not want to fight. Write down some questions, will restricting/b/p/ED behaviour help me? What will I achieve by doing so? Is there something better more recovery orientated I can do? Maybe have a list of things that will distract you, cheer you up, calm you down or rationalise your thoughts. If not, reach out to others, they only want to help you. You are not bothering them.
6. Engage in self care. This is really important, you must care for your body. It loves you so much, it keeps breathing when you want it to die, it lets you know it’s ill when you starve it. Have a bubble bath, some posh moisturiser, face mask, nails, the lot! If this isn’t your thing, how about a nice shopping trip? a movie day, curled on the sofa with some yummy snacks? Whatever is your pleasure, do it! You so deserve it, recovery is hard. Please treat yourself.
7. Eat what you crave. It may seem scary but it has to be done. I bet if you try and get around your cravings, eat fruit, drink water, eat something ‘healthier’, it will not go away. And you will end up eating it anyway. You have deprived yourself for so long and you need to listen to your body and give it exactly what it needs. You can do this. Trust yourself, your body would not crave what it doesn’t need.
8. Let go of the triggers. Photo’s, people, objects, safe foods, thoughts and mindsets. They will only hinder your recovery. Ultimately, your life is your biggest priority. If someone or something is holding this back, distance yourself.
9. Let go of numbers. This is perhaps the most difficult. But, you are NOT a number. You are not a calorie, kg, lb, gram, grade, date, year. You are an extraordinary make up of awesomeness. Calories are not important. You may need to count to make sure you have enough, but know that this is to heal you, not to limit you. Why not ask someone else to count, make sure you have a good high energy plan? Weighing foods is pointless. 30g or 300g of cereal, no difference. 1kg or 10kg heavier, still beautiful. I could talk on and on about the subject of numbers. To summarise, you are literally so much more than 1 or 2 or 3. You are a freaking human being, you were not created to restrict and obsess yourself in to misery.
10. We believe in you. Everyone believes in you. And people around you are going to say stupid things that makes it seem like they are angry or disheartened. But they just care so much and they just want you to be happy. Sometimes it’s difficult for them to understand but just know that they want the best for you. And if not, then I do. I want you to recover, and I know you can.