Recovery Isn’t Linear

A throwback to August 2022.

It’s something that is regularly said but not often enough acknowledged – Recovery isn’t linear. It’s not always smooth sailing; in fact, most of the time, it’s not. And the idea that it is often puts people off of recovery, especially those who try and realise it’s harder than they’d been told.

TW: Binging, Purging, Starving, Calories, Recovery failures

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day for me. I’d forgotten to get my black pudding out for breakfast, so I had a BLT sandwich instead – which would’ve been fine. Until I realised that there was then only one slice of bread left in the packet and my thought went straight to I can’t leave that there. So, I made that into toast.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to come back down to the kitchen again for a few hours, so I grabbed three of my snacks (banana, party rings mini pack, and a BEAR Yoyo) and headed to my room. Instead of waiting to eat them, I ate them there and then.

Feeling obligated to eat the last slice of bread put me into a spiral. And it shouldn’t’ve done! I should’ve been able to either have it or not have it, and be okay. But it spiralled me. But I didn’t realise this until later when I then only had two yoghurts for lunch because I’d eaten too many calories at breakfast. I realised last night that I was starting my binge and starve cycle again by overindulging, then punishing myself for it, without even noticing.

Thankfully, I caught it. But if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t’ve just been a bump in my recovery but a possible fail.

And given that there is nothing wrong with failing. We learn from failing. But each failure can be really disheartening, and it can halt recovery entirely.

But that’s the thing about recovery. There are triggers that you need to witness, learn how to handle, and move on. For me, my food insecurity is so high that when I see the last slice of bread, I binge – as if I’m not going to get fed again.

I also know that if I step on my scales, and see that I’ve gained weight while doing everything I can to lose weight, it can trigger me to start purging again. Because you don’t necessarily have to do both things. You can binge without purging, and you can purge without binging. And for me, I have different triggers for both, together and separately. I have to manage them to make my recovery successful. But if a trigger comes out of the blue, that’s not me failing my recovery – as long as I can recognise the unhealthy traits prior to doing the unspeakable.

I learn a new trigger at least once a week, and it can be a bit of a nightmare to juggle them. But I promise that it’s worth it.

Imagine what it would be like to be able to go out for a meal with friends without needing to look at calories, or think about how you’re going to get rid of or burn the calories…

We can do this.

We’re not in this alone.

Please note that the Stay Queer server has closed down. However, The Butterfly Sanctuary server is recommended for anyone seeking support and community while dealing with an Eating Disorder.


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