How I Overcame Anorexia On My Own After Falling Through Treatment

6. I learned to let my support system help me.

I spent years trying to figure everything out on my own. I’m a perfectionist. I used to be so convinced that I didn’t need anybody to help me do anything at all, let alone help me be free from anorexia. Things had to get really bad for me in order for me to trust that my family and my friends and my boyfriend wanted nothing more than to help me. They would do anything in the world to help me, and I finally let them. The staff in treatment might’ve only been there because that was their job, but my home support system was there for me because they actually wanted to be, and once I started letting them, they’ve helped me so much.

7. I regained control of my body.

In treatment, it was as if my body belonged to the hospital. I was their ‘test subject’. They’d switch my medications without knowing whether or not they would work, and most of the time, they didn’t work. They’d force me to use the elevator instead of walking up a few steps, and they wouldn’t let me go for a walk on a warm day. I wasn’t allowed to be vegan anymore in treatment, and I had to choose my meals from a list of a few foods each day. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it’s important to have some sort of structure in treatment, but I also think that we shouldn’t have to feel like our bodies aren’t ours. This is my recovery process, after all.

8.   I completely changed my work out method.

I heard about a lot of eating disorder patients doing this during their recovery period. When I was deep in my disorder, I, like so many other anorexics, focused strictly on cardio and pilates, anything to burn calories and fat. A lot of people I’ve talked to or seen online completely changed their workout routine to incorporate heavy lifting. It sounded like something I would never be interested in, but somehow, it helped the most. I started slowly focusing on building muscle instead of burning fat, and I started looking for women that also lifted heavyweights as body inspiration instead of people who didn’t eat. In treatment, we weren’t allowed to work out at all, which again, I totally understand. But I think that completely removing the idea of exercising in the process of recovery is just as bad as over-doing it.

9. I had to do my own research on what worked for me and what didn’t work for me.

The way a lot of mental health treatment works is that the doctors tell you what to do, and you’re supposed to fully believe everything they say, even though most of them have never experienced what you’re going through. Eating disorder treatment is no different. I was supposed to believe everything the doctors were telling me about a disorder that I’ve been living through for the past 6 years, and I couldn’t do that. I have to research everything, it’s just a super nerdy quirk about me. The doctors in treatment didn’t really like that I was obsessed with researching everything that was being thrown at me because it meant that they’d have to explain things more, and I’d be skeptical. I think that was a super important part of my recovery though, I needed to research any and every method of recovery possible, and see which ones worked for me.

10. Once I left treatment, I basically did the opposite of what they pushed on us, and I got better on my own.

I think the biggest thing that I took away from treatment was the fact that my recovery was exactly that: mine. Once I left I realized that it was my responsibility to get better because I either chose to start to get better at the age of 20, after over 6 years of having this disease torment me, or I let it go on for the rest of my life. I think the biggest, and the only thing I learned in those 8 weeks, was that my body needed to be fuelled regularly and that it was okay to eat and nourish myself, so I stuck with that ever since. I appreciate everything I learned and experienced in treatment, but ultimately, it was up to me to figure out what worked and what didn’t and it was totally okay if what worked for everyone else didn’t help me, because everyone’s road to recovery is completely unique, and once I learned that, everything got so much better.