One of the most terrifying words for someone struggling with anorexia or any type of eating disorder is restoration. Many people have positive connotations with this term. After all, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the act of restoring or the condition of being restored” as well as “a restoring to an unimpaired or improved condition.” Paintings and buildings are restored to their former glory, we restore relationships that were broken, and the rightful king can be restored to his throne. Those all bring healing and renewed beauty.
However, in eating disorder treatment, “restoration” means the need to gain weight or (even more frightening) pounds put on from increased food intake. Right now, I hate the word. Slowly, the percentage of my meal plan consumed has risen in the past year. Because of that, I have gained more weight. My stomach, legs, arms, and entire body are screaming in protest while my eyes and tongue beg for food. This battle has increased significantly in the past week. On Wednesday, my dietitian finally admitted that I had indeed reached restoration. Despite her reassurance that I was not overweight, my eating disorder began to scream louder than it has for many months. I am teetering on the edge of a relapse but trying desperately to stay strong in recovery. Everything seems to be falling apart around me.
Yet, some lights have shined through the darkness. For example, people have affirmed me, and many friends have stood loyally by my side. Despite my self-hatred, classmates have pointed out the beauty I cannot see in myself. Right now, in a time when I cannot trust my own eyes, I need to listen to them to know what I truly look like. This amazing video really impacted me and reminded me that my thoughts can be disordered and warped.
Staying strong in recovery feels almost impossible right now. If you are in that spot, please know that you are not alone. Also, try to remember that others see you differently than you view yourself. We are usually our harshest judges. Basing our self-worth off of the comments of others and their opinions is dangerous. At the same time, those we trust often see wonderful parts of us that we are blind to or unwilling to acknowledge.
Whether you have an eating disorder or not, you probably express dislike of your body. Nearly everyone that I know struggles with body image. Perhaps you long for thin legs, fret about your unruly hair, wince at your pimples, or consider your feet disgusting. Whatever bothers you, please remember that this does not define you. Our bodies are amazing tools that keep us alive and functioning. Just because one aspect displeases us does not mean we are gross or ugly. Plus, what we see as unappealing might be beautiful to someone else. Our minds can make even a lovely trait seem revolting. Sometimes, we need to listen to the compliments and wise words of others to see ourselves in a positive light.