One Person’s Journey to Recovery: “My Why”
Written by Leia, 25 years old
July 19th, 2021
Tell me about your recovery?
My recovery was far from linear. Even after inpatient treatment I was still not “fully recovered.” It was later during my “quasi-recovery”, that I decided that I didn't want to live a semi-full life because quasi recovery isn’t real recovery. Every single day I had to fight the disordered part of my brain and repeat to myself that at the end of the day I didn’t want to live within the prison of an eating disorder, because that’s not really living at all. Your ED will take everything away from you without you even realizing. It will make you think you are in control of your choices, what you do or don’t eat, when in reality you actually have no control whatsoever. I had to constantly question myself regarding do I want a husband or have children someday? Do I want a regular period, healthy bones, hair, nails, organs? Do I want to be isolated and lonely and lose friendships? Do I want to live a rigid, boring life without spontaneity? I had to make the decision every single day to choose my life over my disorder. On paper it sounds so black and white but I promise I understand how hard it is. The ED feels safe, and while everyone develops an eating disorder under different circumstances, the circumstances almost always have to do with a desire for control because other aspects of our life are out of control. Just keep asking yourself what you want out of this very short life we are given. Discomfort is temporary and nothing in life worth having ever comes easy. You have so much to look forward to, don’t believe the lies the ED is telling you.
Was there one thing that got you to choose recovery over your ED?
I don't think there was a specific trigger. I had spent years in my disorder, so I think I finally just got so sick of it. I got sick of being miserable because I truly was miserable. I was missing out on life in every single way possible. My friends were becoming more distant and doing all of these fun things that girls should be doing in their 20s without me. My parents were always worried about me. I just had no ability to enjoy life and it took a long time for me to recognize that staying sick was not worth all the sacrifices I had to make to keep my disorder. I pushed away every relationship I had. I honestly had trouble looking at myself in the mirror because I was so underweight. Just decided that I wanted to live a full life.
Can you tell me what you mean by ‘Quasi’ recovery?
I define quasi recovery as being half-recovered. I think it can take a long time to get out of this stage. It is still something I have to be intentional about. For example, you can be weight restored and still have ED behaviors or ED thoughts. The thoughts aren't what make you quasi-recovered. It is acting on those thoughts. Eating disorders are formed through habits, so in order to break those habits, we need to form new habits and that takes a long time. If you engage in some rituals but not all, for example, that is quasi recovery. If you are just under your healthy BMI or set point, that can be quasi too. If you feel like you can still live a pretty normal, healthy, and social life but are still restricting in one way or another, that is quasi. Thinking "this is good enough, I can stop here" when you are not really done with the work- I think that is considered quasi as well. Don't get me wrong, quasi is on the road to recovery and we should feel so good about the progress we've made, but it is easy to stop there. I think this is a dangerous place to stop at because it does not ensure that you won't slip back into those disordered behaviors later in life.