How do we define ‘recovered’ – my post anorexia story

I always start these blogs explaining my recent silence, but this time, I feel like my only excuse is stress and some much-needed time-out.

The dictionary defines the word recovered as ‘a person cured, healed, or having regained health after an illness’ and for the most part, I live up to this definition. My BMI is healthy, I’ve finished a marathon and I no longer deprive myself of foods I deem ‘scary’. Yet when you delve a little deeper, my body and my immune system are still catching up nearly seven years later.

Recently, I’ve had a wake-up call that has made me question the definition of ‘recovered’. I’ve blogged about it in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, but my ‘recovery’ from anorexia is something I’m still very much dealing with today.

The warning signs

It’s hard for most people to understand, but despite every warning you receive, when you’re living with anorexia in your head, you just don’t care. I was told I might suffer with long-term effects of being so malnourished for so long and I continued to hide food. I lost hair and it didn’t matter. At the time, listening to that voice in my mind was far easier than thinking about what would happen without it.

Of course, from a medical perspective, recovery must focus on BMI. When you’re so unwell, you take small steps and you gain weight slowly but surely. I have to add, the goal of this blog is not to scare those taking their first steps to recovery – I urge you to keep going, you’re doing an amazing job and you’re changing your life for the better.

The reason I’m writing is to talk about recovery as a bigger picture. Of course, I’d define myself as recovered, but for how much longer will I look back on those years and wish I’d got better that little bit quicker?

Today

Seven years later my hair has grown back, my skin has lost its furry layer and I’m a healthy weight, but my immune system is still compromised. I’ve recently been off work for two weeks with simple virus my body just can’t seem to fight. I’ve been back to the physio as I’ve lost some of the cartilage in my hip, which means my pelvis can easily twist as I run. I’m constantly looking back and feeling angry that I did this to myself.

Of course, this is not a healthy way to live; I cannot turn back the clock and do things again and I’m not sure I would anyway, as it’s a huge part of who I am today. My eating disorder is something I am proud of and open about, but is also to some extent still with me today.

As I start a new year, I’m focusing on health and repair and will be blogging about my journey. I’m not sure if I meet the definition of recovered just yet, but am determined to get there this year, so watch this space.

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