Story of Hope

Stitched Panorama

Guest author: the author of this piece is a former client who has recovered

When I first started my recovery I found it incredibly difficult to gain even a little bit of weight, I felt guilty for eating more, and guilty for ‘bending the truth’ when talking about my fidelity to my meal plan. But I wanted to get better. I was resolved to get better. Although it took a while to realise the only person who was actually capable of making me better was me. I was firm with myself and gradually was able to eat more, even if I wasn’t hungry or didn’t want to, but because I had to, my doctor said I needed to, because I didn’t want my mum to worry  and I didn’t want to cry anymore.

Most people would be surprised by the challenges faced by people trying to gain weight, the contradiction to the constant and ever present social bombarding of diet and exercise for a start. I had the added pressure of my sister undertaking her own fitness regime and diet which added to the guilt and stress of trying to gain weight.

Then I caught a break. Once I gained the first couple of kilograms it got easier, I started to enjoy eating again, looked forward to eating out and found social gatherings with food less overwhelming. My energy levels and mood improved, I was able to sleep well and not wake up tired. And the damage and stress from not eating properly had begun to be repair.

I am still very mindful of what I eat, but knowing what triggers my restricted eating and having the tools and strategies to overcome them means I have the energy and concentration to focus on the more important aspects of my life, such as study, work and my all important social life, which suffered in particular from my eating disorder.

My mother played an integral role in my recovery, although she didn’t always understand she was always patient with me and found the right people who did understand and could help me.

I still face personal challenges in life like everyone else; however life without an eating disorder is much, much better from any direction you look at it.  I am very grateful to Jess and Julie at the Manningham Centre for all their wisdom and sage advice that helped me get back on track and tame the anorexic monster in my head.

Don’t ignore your eating problem and don’t think is will self-correct or that it is not a problem, that one day soon you’ll revert back to eating with ease and enjoyment or that you can continue to restrict and limit your food intake for the rest of your life. Take action! Understand that although recovery can be daunting, challenging and ongoing it is, above all, worth it! And the help you need is there and it is ok to need help. Recovery is for life, for you, for your physical and mental health, for your family, friends and future.

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