The problem with society is that thin has become a synonym for beautiful.
The moment it hit me that I was sick was the day I realised I was categorically petrified of drinking water. I had become so addicted to weighing myself and so frightened of weight gain that I refused to drink a thing in the complete fear that I would step on the scales and see a higher number. Water is essential for life... yet I would risk dehydrating myself to the point of danger rather than momentarily weigh a tiny bit more. Because weighing less would mean perfection. Weighing less would mean acceptance. Weighing less would mean that even if I struggled at university, pushed all my friends away and lived the sheltered, sad and lonely existence that I was living, at least society may accept me as beautiful.
A few nights ago, I decided that the dictionary definition of recovery is unbelievably ill-defined.
'Recovery (noun): The action or process of regaining possession or control of something.'
Shorty after this, I had a second revelation. A revelation that recovery is not what I thought it was. Recently I've been struggling with my weight, but not in the same disordered way I used to. Struggling because I always assumed that 'post-recovery' I would look, weigh and feel exactly how I did 'pre-illness'. So learning to accept that my body is so far removed from anything it has ever resembled is a pretty hard thing to comprehend.
After (wrongly) feeling quite down for a while about these changes, I had a third revelation: I realised I needed to stop trying to be the person I was before. I am not the before- I've lived through the during and now I am the after. Recovery does not mean going back to the way things were. I am not regaining anything, I am not recreating the old me. I am not recovering something old, I am discovering something new. A new braver, stronger person who I am proud to be.
I have poured my heart, soul, sweat and tears into the gym over the past nine months and I am proud of the muscle my body has gained, I am proud of the inches added to my thighs and the additional weight I carry with me. I have worked hard for this healthy, strong, functional body and I am so appreciative that my mind allowed me to have a second shot at creating this body.
I may still be far from where I want to be (I WILL deadlift that failed 87.5kg bar one of these days), but that doesn't mean I am not proud of the journey.
'When you do what you fear most, you can do anything'.