A while back, I sought out recovery-oriented social media sites. At the time, I was in the throes of an 11-year battle with anorexia. Finding these sites was like finding solid ground, the Internet being mired in pro-ana sites and “thinspiration.” But recovery-oriented social media platforms provided testimony after testimony that recovery is real, and gave me hope that maybe I, too, could change the direction in which my life was headed.
Since last autumn, I have been making those changes. Eleven months of residential, day treatment, and intensive outpatient treatment, particularly through the support I received from staff and my peers, saved my life. For the first time in more than a decade, I have hope that full recovery is not only possible, but that I will achieve it. For the first time, I am not just reading about recovery on the Internet—I am living it.
But there is still work to do. To that end, I am offering my voice to the recovery world as someone who is midway through recovery. While there are many bloggers on both sides of recovery—from the relapsed to the fully-recovered—I believe this midway perspective is much less represented in the eating disorder literature. But standing here on the brink of recovery, I find there is a lot to say. This “middle ground” is paved with the hope that full recovery is possible; however, walking it still requires daily focus and commitment. Standing here, one is sharply aware of how grueling yet critical the fight is, because the pain caused by both the eating disorder and recovery itself is still raw.
As a view from this middle ground, the blog will accomplish a number of things. It will document the process of recovery, and comment on issues that are relevant to patients, professionals, and supporters alike—for instance, how insurance was among the greatest obstacles to my recovery, why patients entering treatment might originally under-report symptoms, and how nurture can overcome nature when it comes to eating disorders. I will, of course, be extremely sensitive to potential triggers for eating disorder symptoms in others and stick to the basic ED rules (no talk of weights, calories, numbers, etc.). I know how fragile each stage of the process is, because I am still passing through each one.
I hope that this perspective can speak to people on both sides of recovery, as well as the loved ones who support them. I hope that those in the earliest stages might draw hope from a peer who is triumphing in the same battle they are fighting. Those who are fully or nearly recovered can draw on something I have just learned myself—that one must treat recovery with respect, never underestimating the power that one destructive thought can wield, and remain ever mindful of where they stand in the process. And to both sides, I can offer a reminder of what the recovery process both demands of us and offers us.
I hope that this blog will not only serve women and men who, like I was, are desperate for evidence that recovery exists; it will also help me. Complacency is the one thing that threatens my move from “in recovery” to “recovered.” If I am to stay on this side of recovery, I will need to immerse myself in the eating disorder community by becoming an advocate, a voice for recovery. For too many years, anorexia stole my voice from me. Writing, speaking out, and combating the silence will be my best weapons in the fight.
So let the fight begin.