By Kayla O’Brien
First, I’d like to preface this post by saying that I have strategically titled this with “my,” because, similarly to treatment, no one person’s recovery is the same, and we should recognize that the following is to inspire, and perhaps relate, but in no way is limited to the possibilities of what recovery looks like.
I would also like to point out this: treatment cannot and should not be synonymous with recovery. If you currently are receiving treatment for a mental illness and/or co-occurring eating disorder, please know that it’s okay if the following has not happened for you yet, and I invite you to read this with an open heart and mind and see what recovery could look like for you.
Back to our regularly scheduled program… 🙂
A good day in recovery for me feels relatively effortless. It looks like waking up, ignoring a scale that is supposed to be hidden, or, perhaps, being thankful that a scale’s not there at all.
It could also be mourning my old rituals, old routines, and going about my day anyway.
Sometimes a good day in recovery also feels hard but tolerable.
For me, a good day in recovery looks like standing in the cereal aisle, deciding between two cereals that you love, and getting them both (what a concept!) instead of walking down the cereal aisle, wishing I was “allowed” to get a cereal that I actually enjoyed.
It’s calling friends back after isolating for a few days…or weeks.
It’s distancing myself from the things and people that made me feel like I didn’t deserve to take up space in this world.
Speaking of space, sometimes, a good day in recovery sounds like taking up space. Asking for my needs. Advocating against ignorance or hate.
It’s not berating myself in front of the mirror, or avoiding the mirror in it’s entirety, it is, however looking in the mirror without a second thought other than, “Hey, self,” or “Whoa, what the heck is in my teeth?!”
A good day in recovery, for me, is walking my dog because both he and I deserve it, not because I have to make up for anything, or to punish myself.
It’s ordering sweet potato fries at Cheesecake Factory because I freakin’ love sweet potato fries and salad just isn’t my jam that day.
It’s taking a shower with the lights on.
It’s feeling emotions: sadness, anger, grief, loneliness AND happiness, excitement, joy, pride.
It’s feeling the feels and being okay that the skills I learned in treatment might not alleviate the pain (another great concept that I’ll post about too…).
It’s anxiously leaving the house without makeup on because I know it’s not important to wear makeup to the gas station at 7:00am and if people judge me then they are stupid. And by stupid I mean, they have their own insecurities and that DEFINITELY is not my problem. I digress.
A good day in recovery is reading, doing art, listening to podcasts, marveling over Ryan Reynolds, spending time with loved ones, and traveling because there is more to my life than my eating disorder.
It’s eating DESPITE crying all day because I’m experiencing an intense level of emotions regarding: feeling inadequate, my finances, my body, the fact that Donald Trump is still president, past traumas, a show I watched that made me feel things, grieving my eating disorder, grieving people I have loved and lost, having no Frosted Flakes left, etc, etc.
It’s eating even when I’m not feeling hungry. It’s eating when I am feeling hungry.
For me, it’s wearing the nice blue top my Mom gave me because I like it, and even though I may feel it makes me look a certain way, I wear it anyway because it fits and again because I LIKE IT.
It’s also wearing sweats because it’s freaking cold outside and not because I want to hide my body.
It’s creating goals. Dreaming of the future. Wanting a life that’s more than what it was in the past.
It’s having intrusive thoughts and not acting on them.
Sometimes a good day in recovery looks like waking up and going to work even though you are depressed and anxious and sad and confused and angry.
It’s believing that there is more to life than running away from your eating disorder.
A good day in recovery, for me, looks like finding a new normal (and also being hella scared about it).
And, sometimes, it’s simply just deciding to stay one more day.