Monday, 9 September 2013

How To Get Through Anorexia Recovery!

Well done on making the decision to chose recovery! This a huge and hard step to make!

Recovery is a long, hard and scary road, one which you need a lot of support in and most of all you have to want it for yourself. This journey is going to come with many obstacles which you are going to have to go around, under or over. Going through a recovery you have to confront everything that has gotten you to this point which is often very painful but it teaches you acceptance and forgiveness. It's also a journey of self discovery, learning to fight, becoming stronger, becoming thankful and grateful for each thing you have learnt and have gone through. Recovery doesn't happen over night nor is it easy, I believe it is a life long process, learning and growing from each new road block, experience and taking it one day at a time but most of all your recovery is possible!

Through my first 6 months of my journey (weight gain phase) I discovered self love, got my first tattoo and more as celebrations, bought my first pink dress, legally changed my name and realised how truly amazing my parents were and still are to this day. Don't get me wrong that 6 months to reach my goal weight was the hardest of my life and I struggled with the weight gain, hating food, self harm, water loading, not seeing the need to get out of my pj's and get dressed, hating my counsellors, clothes nearly not fitting and hating a lot of days. I would also countdown the days till the end of the month knowing each day I was one step closer to my goals/dreams.

Once I reached my goal weight I left home and moved cities, started flatting, went vegetarian, joined a gym and started on my muscle building journey. These where things I had dreamt about for so long and never thought were possible until one day I made a promise to myself to fight for them. That promise was so powerful and something that stays very close to my heart.

Today I'm currently continuing with my muscle building journey which has it's own ups and downs but helps continue to fight my Anorexia. I completed a personal training course and I'm on the journey to become a team training instructor. I also started this blog to help people. All these things I have mentioned have been little pieces of magic coming together creating the light at the end of the tunnel which was once a very dark one with a tiny speck of light.

There have been many things that I have learnt and have helped me through my recovery so here are my tips to get through Anorexia Recovery!

*This is mainly for the weight gain phase of recovery but of course a lot of this crosses over to continued recovery and times of struggling.

My Tips To Get Through Anorexia Recovery!

  1. Finding something to fight for: Some questions to ask yourself are? What are my dreams? What am I passionate about? What do I enjoy doing? What am I good at? What do I wish I could be or do? Dream wildly, fiercely and bravely. Write it down, create a vision board, put pictures around your room and on your mirror. Embrace it and feel it.
  2. Food: Depending if your in/on a programme having someone taking control of your food might be helpful. I was on the Maudsley program which I personally hated but the one thing I found helpful was that my parents took full control of my food. This stopped part of the war in my head and other ED behaviours. To eat the amount of food I had to, to get to my goal weight was something I couldn't do by myself. I was made to eat whatever my parents put in front of me. My parents knew there were certain foods I wouldn't eat so they wouldn't put them in front of me or make me eat them but they did put foods in front of me which they knew I was scared of and hated. Anorexia doesn't trust anyone but if there is someone who you truly love and trust that has your best interests at heart please consider having someone take control of your food. It is a very hard decision to make and the voices will scream very loudly at you for doing this but it may be something that will help save your life. Would someone taking control of my food help me to get better? Is there someone I love and trust who would be able to do this for me?
  3. Visualise: Whatever your dreams/goals are visualise yourself doing/achieving them when you eat, feel gross or are just hating life. This helps you to realise that you are eating and fighting for recovery for a reason to achieve those dreams/goals! Your dreams are possible but your ED is a big monster standing in the way so put a middle finger in the air and say fuck you and fight for those dreams! Getting healthy and being in a positive mindset is all part of the journey to achieving your dreams. Would this help me? When would I need to visualise my dreams?
  4. Support: You are truly the only one that can eat meals, fight through all the voices and be the one fighting/wanting recovery but support plays a huge part in getting better! There are going to be a lot of times when you need support from others. This group of people doesn't have to be big but they need to be people you trust and can help you. This can include family, counsellors, Dr's and friends. Who are my support people? What are some situations when I might need them?
  5. Take time for you: This is your recovery and your time to focus on fighting your demons. I would suggest simplifying your life as much as possible during this time to concentrate on recovery. You might need to take time off work, school or study to recover or do these things part time. It is hard enough to recover let alone having a million and one other things to deal with at the same time. How can I simplify my life to focus on my recovery?
  6. Push yourself: There is a point with an ED where you just keep going round in circles, you feel so trapped and you have to say FUCK THIS! This is when you have to force yourself to eat that meal, push through the fear, push through feeling fat and fight! You may need to cry, scream, lash out and ask for help to break the cycle. It is going to take all you have but it is worth it and so many magical things will come from getting through this! Are there certain weight goals I'm going to have to push myself past? Are there certain foods I'm going to have to push myself to eat? How am I going to do this?
  7. Distract yourself after meal times: Find things that help to distract yourself from any habits, behaviours and thoughts that will hinder your recovery. Now this is easier said than done when the voices are screaming at you but finding some positive coping mechanisms will help you through! Activities could include music, writing, painting, TV, Internet, meditation, reading, talking, creating dream/inspiration boards etc. Something I would do was listen to music, dream and sleep. I could drift into another world of happiness that I created and not have to think or feel anything to do with my ED. What are my hobbies? What might be some positive activities to help distract me?
  8. Ask for help: There are times when your ED becomes so loud and unbearable and you want to give into it's voices but I'm urging you NOT to! There may also be times when you give into those urges. This is bound to happen at some point during recovery but don't let it discourage you instead let it be a learning curve. When you ask for help be open and honest! You may not want to, feel guilty or ashamed but these are the times when you need help the most. Whether its a family member, a friend, counsellor, Dr or even a stranger do it. This is what is going to help you break some of your habits and behaviours. You might be needing someone to talk to, needing someone to support you through a meal or just need a hug. Whatever and whoever ask! What might I need help with? Who would I ask?
  9. Rewards: Set little goals in your recovery whether it's every time I gain X amount of weight or I achieved this today, reward and celebrate it! You could go do an activity or go buy something. These little incentives keep you going. Some of my rewards have been tattoos, piercings, clothes, going and staying with family in a different city etc. What could my goals be? What could be my rewards for achieving them? 
  10. Facebook: This can go either way. Deleting/deactivating Facebook is rewarding to be able to shut away from the world and take the time you need to focus on yourself. Facebook can become very triggering seeing pictures of yourself, wanting to write cry for help statuses, posting pictures, useless drama, seeing other peoples lives as perfect and judging other peoples bodies which in turn leads to judging yours. Facebook is NOT the place for any of this and I would suggest getting away from it if anything is causing triggers. There are lots of help and support groups on Facebook and you might also have family and friends in different places which are on your support team if you find they are helping you in a way your not getting else where then keep it as something to help you through. Does Facebook help or hinder me?
  11. Relationships: Unless you are in a healthy committed relationship I would suggest staying single through your main phase of recovery. This is because it easy to look for love and acceptance from others when what you truly need is being able to love and accept yourself. This can lead to not having healthy relationships and triggering relapses. Same goes for flirtations if something goes wrong it can start the "why me? I'm just not good enough! I'm ugly and gross" then... relapse! It is best to focus solely on yourself and when the right person and time comes along then take it as it comes. If you are in a healthy committed relationship cherish this person and know they want the best for you. When you are in a dark place you relate to other people going through similar things but theses people have there own issues and can sometimes not have your best interests at heart. These are not true friends and cutting these people out of your life are the best way to go. You truly learn who your friends are through recovery and it doesn't matter how many friends you have it is the quality of them ;) Surround yourself with loving, positive and supportive people! Am I in a relationship or have a flirtation going on with an unhealthy person? Do I have unhealthy friends? Who are the positive people in my life?
  12. Discover yourself: This is such an empowering part of recovery to truly learn to start accepting and letting go of things and learning to love who you are. You have to be willing to work on yourself through recovery and be willing to heal your wounds. Gala Darling's website helped me a lot and still does to this day. I heard about her 2 months into my recovery when I was extremely close to giving up. She started The Radical Self Love Project and writes about how to stop hating yourself, how to start loving yourself and writing a letter to yourself as a child etc. Her articles are so helpful in being able to discover who you are and being able to move forward in life. I highly recommend checking her website out! She is just fab and angel from heaven! Am I prepared to work on and heal myself? How am I going to do this? What are some things I like about myself? (Morals, personality, physical features) I simply started with I like my eyes.
  13. One day at a time: Take each day as it comes. Some days will be good and others bad but remember trouble doesn't last and everyday is brand new day to fight for your goals/dreams!

Recovery from an ED takes about 5-7 years and even after that you may still have the tail end of it with you. You may not understand your ED and you may not understand why you've gone through the things you have but trust me everything happens for a reason and so many beautiful things will come from this journey! YOU are stronger than you will ever imagine and YOU have the power to overcome this, believe in your dreams and believe in yourself. Smile because YOU are beautiful! :)

Love from the land of magic
Rainbow :) xoxo

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