So here I sit, almost 18 months into recovery. Some days it feels like 18 years and other days it feels more like 18 minutes. Perhaps that is because there is no map for recovery road. You can’t type a destination into your GPS and follow the route to get to where you want to go.
All I know is I’m not where I was and I’m not where I’ll be. Yet, that doesn’t mean I can’t embrace and enjoy where I’m at.
According to the stereotypes, I no longer look like I have an eating disorder but that doesn’t mean I’m recovered. Allow me to reiterate stereotypes are not facts. ANYBODY can have an eating disorder, regardless of their weight!
I openly share my story and advocate for mental health and eating disorder awareness but that doesn’t mean I’m recovered. I still battle orthorexic thoughts and tendencies on a regular basis. Anxiety and OCD are still evident as well. There is still some hurt inside for the way my life turned out after losing my parents, watching my family fall apart, and my world turn upside down. Opening up is helping work through these things but they don’t disappear overnight.
I’m eating foods that were once deemed forbidden, but that doesn’t mean I’m recovered either. It’s not always easy to order exactly what I want off the menu. I still get the urge to research menus and nutrition labels. And yes, sometimes I am still too overcome by anxiety or guilt to fully enjoy a meal.
I am not recovered, I am recovering.
This is a difficult concept for many to accept. We live in a world that wants results and solutions right away. Think about how everything at work always seemed to be marked “URGENT'' or how we’ll watch our favorite TV shows in one marathon sitting.The days of “to be continued” have been discontinued. America's pastime, baseball, is even experiencing a decrease in popularity here because it’s “too slow or takes too long". And don’t even get me started on diet culture where extreme fad diets and detoxes offer “instant” or “quick” results. And if we don’t see them fast enough, then we move on to the next one.
It’s like we fear the thought of something being left incomplete or pending. This can make it difficult for those of us on recovery road. We feel pressured by external, and internal, noise demanding instant results and solutions. But recovery does not happen overnight, and it is anything but linear.
It’s difficult to explain to some people that it’s okay that I’m still recovering and not recovered. Sometimes it’s even difficult to remind myself of that. But like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m going to embrace where I am at. Even if I’m not always sure where exactly that is.
And on those challenging days, I’ll remember that I’m not lost and that there is no need to rush because my recovery road is not a road at all, it is a trail that I get to blaze.