I have an admission to make, a secret to tell. Most of the time someone like me hopes never to have to say these words … again. However, to give voice to the words cripples its power over me and weakens the admission to nothing more than a slight sting.
I’ve relapsed into my eating disorder.
There I said it. *insert all judgemental thoughts*
Some might call me counterfeit, a fraud, an imposter for calling myself a mental-health advocate, questioning how I can consider myself a mental-health champion, yet allow myself to fall back into anorexia. I know. I might wonder, too, the authenticity of my positivity and the encouraging I offer to prop others up as they struggle. What is the real truth: a fraud or a human?
My struggle with anorexia, body dysmorphia, and low self-esteem explain away decades of feeling inferior, worthless, less than, not good enough, a reject, a failure, and so much more. Sashaying into so many hospitalizations and treatment centers, I played the good girl and impersonated a recovery anorexic. Send her on her way., they said. Hand over her marching papers. She’s on her way to complete recovery. I wanted to be that girl clinging to the hope of recovery.
In full disclosure though, I did sit in my dietician’s office on the last day of my most recent treatment center, plotting my eventual relapse while my dietician droned words like “body acceptance,” “trust,” and “follow the meal plan.”
“It’s a no-brainer,” I reassured her.
I recognize it’s not a reasonable excuse, but I didn’t really want to relapse when I returned home from treatment; I simply wanted to lose some of the weight they padded, plopped, and piled on my skin. But in recovery, we have this saying:
- If you’re not working on recovery, you’re working on a relapse.
Make no objection, whether consciously or unconsciously, I was working on a relapse.
My Second Admission
I am nervous to admit more, yet I am authentic and credible and must give all to you. While to some it may strip away my credibility, I think it makes me more trustworthy because I don’t pretend I’m something I’m not.
Eating disorders calculate their hateful lies and feed it to the stomachs weak and without food. My eating disorder is trying to convince me I am well and healthy, despite the weakness and dizzy spells. My eating disorder loves feeling sick. She wants what we all desire and need: to receive attention and to feel special. She employs the abusive eating disorder to communicate her pain because words are inadequate and powerless to explain her existence in my life.
But in the most secret places of my heart, I am glad I have her. In moments of weakness, I do not want to let her go. She provides me comfort and safety.
Yet, despite the persuasive lies she speaks, I know I can not give in to her. I know there is hope left for me. If I want to remain positive, happy, and encouraging, I will have to ignore her and replace her lying, manipulative, negative thoughts and keep my eyes on the same light of recovery that I bring to others.
Why Share My Admission
We are all in recovery for something. Everone is working to improve themselves and live the best life possible. We all have a commonality in that we want love, happiness,, peace, respect, and success, to name just a few.
We all have a story. a piece of truth about ourselves to tell, and if me sharing my failures and slips helps other people, I will not hold back.
I’ve never held back in sharing my experiences with readers. I’ve allowed myself to be used as an example of what might or might not work in recovery. I’ve strewn pieces of my private life all over my blog in the hopes that it might encourage others not to give up.
No one does recovery perfectly. No one’s journey is without bumps and uneven terrain. Neither is mine.
I could have hidden my relapse. I could continue to offer up inspiration, motivation, and encouragement without letting on that I have fallen. But I believe in transparency. I believe it’s okay to fall, it’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to need support, as long as we get back up and keep fighting.
Who is Becca, the mental-health advocate?
I am Becca: the same Becca that is working to end the mental-health stigma; the same Becca that believes we can all recover; the same Becca that will still inundate you with positive messages.
I am Becca. I haven’t changed; I’m just dealing with the old enemy anorexia again.
Please don’t make the mistake of putting mental-health advocates and ambassadors up on a pedestal. We are human and infallible too. It’s what we do about the struggle that validates us or discounts us.
I resolutely believe recovery is achievable for all. I still believe the truth of every expression of hope, faith, trust, and encouragement I have shared and will continue to give.
I know the road ahead back to wellness will not be easy. An eating disorder is an uphill battle, and I have a fight on my proverbial plate. But I am always up to the challenge.
Despite its best effort, life and its challenges haven’t destroyed me, and it never will. I am honest and forthright when I say I’m still struggling but still fighting. Know this, my relapse absolutely does not demean my hope and strength. I will continue to fight, for me, for you, for all.