How Long Does It Take To Heal From an Eating Disorder?

I played soccer quite a long time; all throughout my pre-teen/teen years. I’m a klutz – but I loved it.

Not-so-graceful me would sometimes take a ball straight in the chest. The force would push me over and knock the wind out of me.

I would lay there seeing stars for a few moments until finally, my team cheered me on to get back up.

And up I went. Then, not long after, the same thing would happened again.

Even with the wind knocked out of me- I would get up every single time with more fervor.

A moment of truth

Ironically enough, a wind-knocked-of-me incident was one of the events that finally helped me seek treatment for my eating disorder.

I got into a car accident.

An airbag to the face and chest served as a reminder: you’re still alive- but why aren’t you living?

Immediately after the accident, I entered treatment.

“Two days…” I explained to my boss as I left work for full-time treatment. “Two days and I’ll be back.” But it took more than two days.

For months, every single day felt like a soccer ball to the chest with the wind knocked of out me.

Still falling

Truthfully, I’ve struggled with recovery more times than I can even count. Days on days of the “can’t breathe, don’t want to move forward” moments.

Luckily, I’m blessed with a small group of people cheering me on during the messiest parts of healing.

A week into recovery (and what felt like the millionth time falling down) my best friend turned to me on the couch as I sobbed.

“You know you have the strength to get up again,” she said supportively.

“But why I am I not better YET. I want to be better now…” I cried, beyond exasperated with myself. “Getting knocked down every time…it’s exhausting.”

When I was tired, the people in my life reminded me of me of my resiliency. They believed in me when I couldn’t.

Until…

Until I could.

I would try to get back up after each blow. Each relapse. Each time with more intensity.

Over time, and with a ton of patience, there were less “I can’t do this” moments and more “I will do this” moments.

How long will this take?

We try to set specifics on healing. How it has to look “this way” or take “this amount of time”.

Because recovery, while worth it, can be exhausting. Every day feels like a force to your chest. Heavy and exhausting. We want it to be over. Now.

We want to flash forward to the clean, bright and better days.

But real healing may not happen in two day or two months.

Time + patience = real recovery

It’s a series of messy moments. Recovery requires seeking real help and support from the people around you.

You have to face all the things you don’t want to face. And feel all the things we want to anesthetize ourselves to.

It can leave you wondering how you can move forward after the thousandth fall down.

Until you can – and you do. That’s when you realize it takes more than two days time, and it takes immense amounts of patience.

Flash forward to today: Two years later, I still face tons of messy healing moments.

There is pain and a lot of couch crying in these moments. But I see how beautiful life is without my eating disorder.

I see growth. I see resilience. And I see love – for myself and from the people around me.

Finally, I see myself.

Image:@alesmo

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