Do you believe there is hope for recovery from your eating disorder? Or do you believe the best you can hope for is management of your eating disorder symptoms?
I believe there is hope. I believe that one day, I will be free.
The Inherent Hopelessness of Eating Disorders
There is an underlying current of hopelessness in all eating disorders. I don’t mean this to say that those with eating disorders should feel hopeless, but instead that these illnesses create hopelessness within.
My world was very dark when I was enmeshed in anorexia. I woke up each day praying that I would die. From a heart attack. From malnutrition. From suicide.
It didn’t matter. I just wanted the pain to stop.
However, death from anorexia is often a slow process. One of my friends struggled for about sixteen years before dying from complications of anorexia in November.
I think of one of my friends who struggles with binge eating disorder. She is happy. She does have a fulfilling life. But she also suffers with obesity-related health problems. She is still seeking seeking relief from her eating disorder.
I think another one of my friends said it best when she described herself as a “happy sad person.” She is joyous and kind and caring . . . and she also is sad and anxious and struggling to find recovery from anorexia.
The Dream of Eating Disorder Recovery
Although I often prayed that I would die from anorexia or a related cause, a tiny flame of hope flickered within my heart after I met my current eating disorders psychiatrist in August 2008. He firmly believes that full recovery from eating disorders is possible.
However, the light of hope often burned low and threatened to be snuffed out. I would turn to restrictive eating and self-harm in order to combat anxiety and depression. The voice of self-hatred would flare up and threaten to consume me.
I found out that some people don’t believe in full recovery from eating disorders.
I almost bought into that. Recently. I started to doubt that recovery for me existed. I thought perhaps the best I could hope for was to manage my symptoms.
It is perhaps not so strange that as I once again began to doubt that recovery is possible, I started falling into old eating disorder thinking patterns.
That I was fat. That I needed to lose weight. That I eat too much. That . . .
It wasn’t long before I found myself looking at “thinspo” blogs. A warning bell went off in my head, attempting to drown out the siren call of size zero.
I was losing hope.
Then, this morning, I thought to myself, There are more important things in life then being a size zero. Friends. Family. Freedom. Books and learning and growing as a human being.
Life. Hope returned. I could breath again.