Real World: Recovery

I don't talk too much about my experiences with disordered eating. For some reason, they are still inherently private to me.

In general, I guess that isn't surprising. I think it's just when it comes to me, as someone who shares a lot of herself and her dark spots with the internet, it is a little surprising.

It's not that I'm entirely opposed to sharing it with y'all.

But I do think that I struggle more with the stigma of an ED, than the stigma of depression, or anxiety. A lot of that, I know, has to do with having far more years of depression under my belt.

Frankly, I also think that most of the really a-typical stereotypes that follow people who have depression don't consistently bother me (day-to-day. Obviously they bother me on an intellectual level. They should bother you too, honestly.)

I like to believe that is because I surround myself with people who are educated enough to understand that a breakup didn't make me depressed. And educated enough to know that things like shopping, working out, eating well, and baths are also not going to be the things that cure me.

But, EDs are different right now.

The stigma is skewed, because the understanding is skewed. I do really think that now, more than ever, you have to look sick, to "be" sick. Now, more than ever, the validity and pervasiveness of EDs are being overlooked.

Because disordered eating is normalized, diet culture is mainstream in 100 different ways every day, "fitspo" and "thinspo" are now interchangeable, drinking your meals is "healthy," and because I keep hearing "cheats/treats/guilty pleasures." The list goes on and on.

And I'll be totally transparent - that shit makes me want to shut the heck up on tough days.

Look, it's not like I haven't bought into some of this. I know dang well that when I have prepped for pageants, I have sprinted down that slippery slope.

Admittedly, it is really hard to see how you can be contributing to an unhealthy narrative when you truly believe that your behavior is otherwise healthy and acceptable.

Should I have done Whole30? Nope.

Should I be telling people how to carb cycle? Honestly, no.

Should I be counting macros and calories and whatever hell else? Right now, no.

I understand that there's a time and a place for "prep behavior." But that line is so thin, and so many people do not know it. Sometimes, even I didn't.

That alone means I've contributed to the culture that devalues an ED diagnosis. That alone means that I've taken my own experience and brushed it off in a manner that honestly, is a little disgusting at this point.

So, to say that I have a hard time talking about it...all of this? That's why.


That, and I still have hard days.

Really hard days.

Honestly? This week, I had two.

Which is rare, admittedly. But it stung. And it was hard. I wanted so so badly to give into the notion that I can't eat that, and that I don't deserve that, maybe worst yet that I haven't earned that.

If you're confused: there are no such thing as "no" foods, there are no such things as foods that need to be deserved, or earned. You don't have to do X to get Y here. Food is food.

And some days, I spend a whole day telling myself, you can eat that, it's okay. 

And some days, I cry in Healthy Living because the pressure is literally too much. And I pick up bread and put it back twice. And I worry that the girl at the check out judges my single piece of chocolate. And I spend the entire time there worried, and anxious, and aware, and scared.

That's real.

That's also why we have therapy, so like, please keep your head on your shoulders too here. I have coping mechanisms. I do eat. But I struggle too.

So, I don't talk about this much.

Because even right now, I'm writing this and thinking that y'all are going to try to jump down my throat here. That somehow I'm not someone who's allowed to be in recovery here. Because, it doesn't look like it. Because I have a lil tummy squish.

It's hard to share that sometimes the most basic form of human sustenance sometimes sends my anxiety through the roof.

It's hard to say that sometimes I have to go through the truths, one by one.

Food is nourishment. Your body is healthy. What you eat is dictated by no one. And your anxiety doesn't control you here, not again. 

That's hard.

Especially when the culture right now is all workout fads, and new diets, and calling consistent food restricting a "lifestyle," and acting like "cheats" are normal, and like eating isn't inherently tied to emotion, and like we have to somehow throw all of our stock into fitness and health and well-being to matter right now in this arena.

That's ridiculous.

I walked away from the notion that I have to workout with any rules. No specific number of times a week. No specific days. No specific length.

Do I like it? Oh hell yes.

But I don't like the thought that those things are tied to food intake.

I walked away from the notion that I needed to "eat healthy." Eating healthy is just eating. It's just eating when your body is hungry. It's just listening to what your body wants and needs.

Do I still eat salads and not (always) a lot pizza? Of course.

But all of that? I want to stop feeling like I have to justify it. I want to stop feeling like this is a kind of recovery that has to be hidden because it's harder to explain.

This week was hard.

That doesn't mean it was a wash. It just means that it was two long days of remembering what I do put my stock into. And where I do have value, and worthiness, and strength. And how I am able to get through these days, whenever they happen.

'Cause they are gonna happen.

And I will probably keep talking about it.

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