The Hard Truth Of Anorexia Recovery After Weight Restoration
Anorexia. Controlling your mind, relationships and personality.
Not once did I mention food. Why is that?
Many, MANY people think of anorexia as an issue revolved around eating. They see these girls starving themselves, avoiding meals, not taking part in food related outings and browsing the grocery aisles for the perfect low calorie, but filling snack. People who see this tend to wonder, why it is so hard for them to just eat? Assuming if they begin to eat again, they will be healthier, happier and have the energy and excitement to be in public. Plus, if they were healthy before just from eating why can't they become healed and healthy by eating more food again?
This talk can get annoying. Eating more food to gain weight gets annoying, and hard and scary and overwhelming - all at once. Again, why is that? Does food not taste amazing to us... and satisfy our tastebuds as we used to excitedly fork a mouthful of chocolate cake or a stuff big slice of pizza in our face? It should be obvious as to why, but people don't see what goes on inside - the feelings associated to what makes an individual anorexic. SO, to make this clear... Anorexia is a mental illness. MENTAL. M-E-N-T-A-L. Not just a PHYSICAL. It is not as easy as increasing calories and gaining the weight back. Say you have someone close to you, that you know struggles with this, and they seek help and start to gain weight. You tell them they are looking better - healthier to be exact - assuming you think they will take it as a compliment. Unfortunately, sometimes that is not the case for some who struggle. This can be taken as a bad thing because they hate their body still, and gaining weight and improving their physical health has done nothing for how they feel. They also are still scrolling through photos of thin girls, and convincing themselves that this is what beautiful is.
You can't actually believe that when someone with anorexia, who becomes weight restored (usually by force), has recovered. It seriously brings a rush of anger to me thinking about that. I sat through multiple doctor appointments, and 'therapy' appointments only realistically to be weighed; for my parents to feel at ease with my progress. But, this is what causes a relapse. (I have a post on preventing relapses that you should definitely check out to help notice them and avoid them before they get worse: CLICK HERE to visit the page). If your not recovering mentally or eliminating behaviours - such as looking at images of 'fit' girls - small triggers can cause this to occur - I have personal experience... Which is why I suffered even more severely the second time.
Speaking of relapse leads to me to be able to summarize all of this. Find professional care who recognizes that recovery is NEVER over after weight restoration. As a family or friend who knows someone suffering, please understand that this is a mental illness - not a physical alone. A lot of professionals release individuals from clinics or even hospitals when they have reached a specific weight, some even set goal weight markers along the way for when you get the chance to visit family or leave the hospital for a few days, etc. I was personally in situations where I was told if I gained weight I could do something... It may work in the moment, but our only motivation is gain the weight to get to do what we want, and then we can loose it again... just mentally, that would be hard, but totally worth it, since that is what makes us feel in control and 'happy'.
So before you assume someone is 'recovered', remember what actually created this disorder in the first place. Help someone you know whose recovering to become in-tune with their mentality. Work on strengthening it with them as they slowly let you back into their world of emotions.