Eating disorders: the journey to recovery

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By Natasha Holt, Third Year, Chemistry

Natasha Holt discusses her personal journey to recovery as part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Recovery has been one of the hardest experiences I’ve willingly put myself through in my whole life. Having the courage and determination to fight back at something so intrinsically woven into my world is a huge achievement that no one should take lightly. But moulding a new outlook on the world and my place within it has its own challenges.

I like to use metaphor to explain the dichotomy of recovery and why it takes so much strength and courage to embark on this journey. Imagine your best friend, someone you are so comfortable with, someone who you tell everything too, and someone you trust implicitly with your life. Your relationship began slowly, and their place in your heart and your mind started to grow with you. They were with you through heartache and euphoria and you couldn’t imagine your world without them. They are your best friend, but they aren’t kind to you. Their words shattered your confidence and any belief you had in your ability to stand on your own. You don’t grow anymore.

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You feel like you have lost yourself to them and you don’t know who you are without them. They are your eating disorder. You can’t go on without them, but you can’t move on with them. Taking that first step towards independence, however big or small, can feel destabilising and frightening. It may feel like it would be a lot easier to stay as you are, with them by your side. It may feel like the world you have built together, your identity and your future will be distorted. Who will you be without them in your life....? But this is only half the battle because your friend will fight and fight to keep you around.

They will shout so loud in your ear that it is all you can hear. But their voice will fade as yours grows stronger, and that is essentially what recovery boils down to, strengthening your voice and diminishing theirs. It is a journey in building a life you deserve to have, a life without them, and a life with space for compassion and growth. This isn’t easy but it is definitely achievable for everyone and anyone with disordered eating, and I wholeheartedly believe in that.

That is essentially what recovery boils down to, strenghtening your voice and diminishing theirs.

I found, during my recovery, that small changes and achievements build up. I found that I feel more in control, happier and more stable. Moreover, I am proud of myself and this war I’m waging on my “best friend”. I can see a world without them and I can feel the warmth of my future. This is my motivation. When I feel like I can’t keep fighting, I take a deep breath and feel the warmth in my chest, I put my armour on and keep going. I am not there yet, and I have a way to go but I know that taking the decision to entertain a world without my eating disorder has been the most rewarding one thus far in my life. I am so glad I broke up with my best friend, they still text me a lot, but it’s getting a lot easier to stop reading their messages.

Featured Image: Epigram / Constance Chen


For more information into eating disorders and recovery, click here to find out more.

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