Most people who i’ve come across believe that recovery from an eating disorder is solely based on eating normally and becoming a healthy weight again. That’s in a damn fairytale world, it would be wonderful if that’s how it went — that all it took was to eat and be fine again.
Since eating disorders are mental illnesses, the mental and compulsive side to them make recovery difficult but in this post, I’m going to talk predominately about the physical side to it all.
When I was in the hospital last week I was experiencing re-feeding and it was a lot more confronting in reality than I had predicted. My stomach had shrunk from the minimal food I had been consuming before I was admitted and thus, it wasn’t used to so much of a surplus of food (6 meals a day) and I would have a tight feeling in my abdomen, alongside bloating and even a bout of constipation which would then be followed by constant bowel movements once it all started working again.
I really hated how it made me feel but while in there, I know I needed to do it in order to survive and also get out of there.
On the mental side of it all, I had to deal with a lot of guilt. I was feeling everything I ate, the calories growing on me, I felt myself becoming massive the more I looked in the mirror – as if it was instant. I gained hardly anything yet I felt as if I had become a whale.
Being frank, it made me want to rip myself apart. Some nights I fantasised about escaping to a liquor store and getting drunk to cope. I still get the same overwhelming guilt when I eat ANYTHING. I’m yet to learn how to cope with it.
Despite how I felt emotionally and physically with my brief experience, I am aware that refeeding is a major and crucial part to recovery and even surviving with an eating disorder. I know one day it’ll be worth the distress as one day I’ll be able to live a fulfilling life to some extent.