When recovery makes you feel worse

As I’ve been approaching the six month mark of being binge and restriction free, I had expectations of feeling on top of the world and full of accomplishment. Unfortunately, those expectations were misplaced. In complete contrast, I’ve felt like someone threw me in to a dark pit.

How can I be recovering and feel so bad?

I’ve overcome an eating disorder, why doesn’t it feel like it? Why do I still eat unhealthy foods when I feel emotional, albeit not in the way I used to? Why am I still feeling overwhelmed by emotions? Why am I starting to experience strong anxiety, thoughts about not being alive and depression again?

Am I really recovered?

Maybe I’m not. Maybe my therapist was a bit hasty in her decision to discharge me after all. I expected to feel better, but here I am feeling like I’m still an emotional, crazy woman.

I don’t think I’ve recovered from trauma but I am recovered from BED

In my reflections, through the lens of self-compassion, I reminded myself that recovery from BED as per the definition of the diagnosis is about stopping those binges and the habits around food that caused distress. The truth is, my distress and emotions no longer come from my eating habits, they come from dealing with everyday life and a lot of the stuff that bingeing had once numbed for me.

I eat unhealthy foods sometimes, but so do most people without an eating disorder. There’s a huge difference between eating too many biscuits and eating a shopping list full of food in a couple of hours and feeling the guilt and shame that comes along with it too.

Yes, I’m feeling like shit. Yes, emotions still feel overwhelming and unbearable a lot of the time, but I must remind myself, and so should you, that it’s only because I’m no longer using BED to suppress them.

I’ve cast BED aside and now allow myself to face life and feel the full intensity of my emotions – that takes so much strength and courage.

It might not feel like it, but progress is being made

I’m doing life and feeling my emotions without BED! That’s success, that’s recovery and as I’ve said before, there’s certainly a lot of healing and recovery that still needs to take place in my emotions, but that doesn’t take away from the progress I’ve made in my recovery from BED.

Nearly six months of doing life without bingeing or restricting

What an achievement! Well done me! I’ll pat myself on the back and continue to commit to the journey of healing and recovery after BED.

With 30 years of suppressed emotions, removing BED is like pulling the cork on a sparkling bottle of wine after an intense shake up. Just imagine that! Of course it won’t be easy to contain and will test my mental fitness, but I’ve already accomplished something I never thought I would – BED recovered. What else is possible? Only I set that limit.

Takeaway: Feeling overwhelming emotions doesn’t mean that I’m not recovered from BED, it’s a sign that I’ve developed the strength to feel my emotions, rather than turn to BED as a way to cope or numb them.,

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