Jason's Journal: Where am I?
Where am I on recovery road? I know I’ve come a long way since last July, yet I know there are many mountains left to climb.
If you ask the scale or the mirror, they’d probably say I’m recovered. My most recent appointment with my nutritionist was dubbed my graduation. I “graduated” because I reached the number on the scale deemed optimal for my body-- the goal we set last August.
I look in the mirror and see a lot more of me than was there just a couple of months ago. From an outsider’s perspective, I look recovered. That’s the problem. You cannot always see an eating disorder, but believe me, the individual going through one feels it every single day.
couldn’t have made the physical progress I’ve made over the past nine months without addressing the unresolved trauma of my past. Nor could I do without facing my anxieties and fears around food head-on. These “invisible” accomplishments are the true mark of progress.
The scale is simply a set of numbers. I’ve learned in recovery to ignore it. An electronic device can and will never measure the progress I’ve made in recovery. At the same time, it’s frustrating because many people who haven’t gone through what I’ve been through will not understand that.
They celebrate my weight gain, the restoration of my body after years of abuse. Yes, it deserves recognition. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and rest easier at night, knowing I’m no longer at risk for complications from low body weight. However, just because I look or weigh “healthy” does not mean I am recovered. You can’t just graduate from an eating disorder, mainly because an electronic device or the BMI chart says so.
My eating disorder still barks commands at me regularly. I still face an almost paralyzing sense of anxiety when I think about certain foods. I am learning to fight back and overcome these thoughts and fears, which is why I am still on recovery road.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that it may be like this for a long time, perhaps the rest of my life, but that’s okay. I know with each bite, I get stronger, and the negative thoughts get weaker.
There is no way to measure one’s progress on recovery road. Our journeys are all unique, something an electronic device can never detect. What I can do is focus on how far I’ve come and continue to set attainable goals to continue pressing forward. Last week was getting rice with my Chipotle burrito bowl for the first time in two years, and next week might be a slice of cheesecake.
So the next time you see me or someone else battling an eating disorder, please don’t assume we are recovered because we look like it. Our bodies may heal much faster than the mental and emotional scars an eating disorder can inflict.