How to Prevent an Eating Disorder Relapse
For many, recovery is a smooth process, and relapse is never an option. This can happen to anyone, no matter the extreme of their anorexia and previous eating disorder. It is all based on how your mind is willing to think and how much effort and work your willing to put into a full recovery. For others, they still struggle, and sometimes unfortunately fall back into disordered eating behaviours. Sometimes, in worst case scenarios, they live a life filled with times of relapse and times of recovery.
DID I EVER RELAPSE?
I relapsed once. I was recovered (so I thought), happy and I was having fun spending time with friends and family again. But, I let certain events control me the second time around. It was Grade 12 to be exact, and with all the trips coming up, celebrations and prom at the end of the year, I suddenly became very uncomfortable in my own skin again. I slowly let the thoughts, I once removed from my mind, creep back in and control me – this time only worse. I blame it on my mindset. I did nothing in order to stop them, I didn’t practice self love, I did not meditate and I did not address the situation. Instead, I spent hours searching for quick fixes, looking at photos of women with thin frames (keep in mind, I am a tiny person to start off with and I failed to see that), and I made these little lunches that involved a small portion of lettuce and tomatoes with a fruit and I spent everyday at the gym focusing on loosing weight. It got to the point where I would spend most of my time in my classes just looking at food and watching the clock until lunch time came around. I was sick, I did nothing to stop myself and I did not reach out for help. Thus, creating the start of my relapse.
WHAT CAN YOU DO DURING A RELAPSE?
SEEK HELP – SIMPLE. I believe, in any situation or struggle your dealing with, you should immediately speak to someone that you feel MOST comfortable speaking too. That way, you have someone to lean on during the process, and they are able to help you control bad thoughts and remove them from your mind.
Recovery can tie into to almost any aspect of your life and help explain what failure will bring to you. That being, if you want to excel in a specific thing, your going to have to put in continuous effort to be better. Whether that be to get straight A’s to get into your dream University, be recognized for being really good at a sport, get really good at photography, or getting your back handspring, (etc). These people don’t decide to give up and expect their situation and goals to just happen, to be handed to them. These people are putting in hours and days studying, practicing their techniques, going out and shooting, stretching, (etc). This all comes back to mindset. If your mindset in recovery is ‘oh, maybe I’ll try eating a little less tomorrow since I ate too much today and feel like I gained too much weight fast’ then your not on the path to recovering. You need to practice living with the feeling of being uncomfortable. Just like in any situation I mentioned above, you need to feel the stress but not allow it to stop you, because eventually your going to get it right. You are going to pass a barrier you’ve mentally built for yourself.
During an eating disorder you loose so much of who you are. The first steps in avoiding relapse are to start with the small things you know (aka distractions)… What do you love? What makes you happy? What is a good book you remember you could never put down? Does watching the sunrise bring joy to you? The more you recover, the more you will recognize how many things you loved to do previous to your eating disorder – and the quicker, and easier the process of recovery will be. Without any relapse.
HAVE I FAILED
Never. Relapse is not a failure. Because you have been through this before, your relapse actually has the ability to make you stronger. Remind yourself: why do I want to recover? Address what made you relapse. Was it an event coming up, did you experience someone speaking about going on a diet, did you encounter someone else struggling with anorexia? Make note of this situation that caused you to change your mindset. This gives you an insight into triggers that you should look out for and focus on bettering your thoughts towards. Be mindful.
You deserve to be happy.