The ED Recovery Symptom No One Told Me About

When I first entered into eating disorder recovery I expected: weight gain, having to eat more food, going through hard emotions, meal plans, therapists, doctors, tears, etc. However, I also thought that I was going to be able to say goodbye and then move on from there. I never expected the “break up” to be what it was. No one told me that I was going to have to grieve my eating disorder.

When you are really sick, your eating disorder feels like a friend to you. It is a constant companion, and I began to believe that anorexia loved me more than anyone else did. It became my best friend, promising to make me happier, prettier, better, less worthless, proud of myself, etc., and I poured my heart out to my “friend” We spent all day together, and it felt like “Ed” would never leave me.

I did not know that I was going to go through various stages of grief. Some people say there are five stages of grief and I can see how I have gone through most of them.

I have definitely denied many times that I needed to give up my former anorexic life. I fought back against my treatment team and yelled that I did not need help. I tried to convince them that it was not killing me. I was not too skinny, I did not eat too little, I did not exercise too much, and on and on.

I have definitely felt the depression stage. Some days I cried because I was so upset that I was not allowed by my treatment team to return to something that I felt I wanted back. I have mourned the old days, and my head has glorified what an eating is really like. Honestly, sometimes I still feel like crying because I feel nostalgic for that old time.

I have definitely felt the anger stage. I have been so f***ing mad before that I was being “forced” into giving up my old ways. I have bitched back when it was meal time at treatment. I broke the rules because of how mad I was. I remember crossing my arms, staring ES down, and straight up refusing to have my meal. I fought back out of fear, truthfully. I hid my scared feelings being a veil of anger.

At first, I did not think the bargaining stage was something I dealt with. However, I do know, after putting more thought towards it. For a long time, I wanted to recover but keep my ___ amount of pounds body. I wished that I could somehow be healthy, but still my sickest weight. I pleaded to eat my whole meal plan and magically not gain any weight. I know that is not possible and I am working to accept that.

Now, I am not at the stage of acceptance. Frankly, I still miss my eating disorder at times and a small part of me wants it back. I still have not fully accepted that recovery means never going back. I still hold on to a sliver of belief that I was less miserable when I was sick. It is a highly challenging process, and I am still journeying to get further and further down the path. I need to have self-love/compassion and be patient with myself. I will work not to listen to the eating disorder voice!

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