I promised to answer any and all questions, so I'm starting off with two questions I got from Miss Keira. I'll stay true to my word, so if you want to add any to my mix, ask me in a comment here. I'm working my way down the list!
"Did you have a moment where you went from "recovering" to "recovered"? or was it fluid and went by without noticing? I ask because I'm at a stage where it doesn't feel like I'm 'actively' recovering... it just feels like life."
I don't know that I can pinpoint any one moment, but I do remember several times when I would stop what I was doing and realize Wow, the eating disorder hasn't been a part of my life or my thoughts for a while. It's one thing to erase all behaviors and idiosyncrasies from your life, but it's another thing entirely to realize the an eating disorder is no longer part of your thought process.
For me, on a daily basis, I don't think about having an eating disorder. It seems like a piece of my past. The only time of think about eating disorders is when I post on the blog, make my recovery videos for people, lead my ANAD support group, or post responses to people on the recovery forums on which I'm a moderator. My own understanding of the matter helps me to help people, but it doesn't cause me to think of eating disorders once I'm removed from those arenas.
Each day, I wake up and eat normally. I don't think about what I put into my mouth. That is a big indicator for me. If someone asked me what I ate yesterday, I wouldn't always know. I'd have to think about it. That is telling; in past years I would know everything I'd eaten in the last week and could name it all in 25 seconds. When I tell the women in my group that I drink "regular Coke" they shake their heads in disbelief. When I talk about cream cheese on bagels, they almost gasp. To me, it is nothing. Not anymore. But because it used to be so severely SOMETHING to me, I know how far I have come. It is part of the reason I consider myself "recovered."
The other part is that I don't feel I could help people in the same way I do if I wasn't "recovered." If there was always that little seed still inside me waiting to grow, I don't think I could say the things I say with such certainty. I don't think I could explain myself in the same way and I don't think that I could push suggestions that I know work.
As you say, Miss Keira :), when you feel you are not "actively recovering" but just living life, that is a definite piece of what I'm talking about when I refer to being "recovered." When life is life and all things eating disordered cease to exist. I used to be healthy and well, but still on occasion had to catch myself from following through with an eating disordered thought. I'd have to use positive reinforcement regularly to keep me going in the right direction. It could have been a year since I'd done anything remotely eating disordered, but the thoughts were still there from time to time. I was still recoverING.
Now, it's different. The thoughts don't plague me. My life is...freer. I'm content. I don't have the anxiety that used to follow many of my moves and moods. I'm a healthy weight and have been.
When I started up my support group, I did it not as soon as I knew I was healthy and well, but when I had BEEN healthy and well (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for a decent amount of time. Sure, I could have led my group after a year of being healthy and happy and well, but I wouldn't have felt removed enough from the issue. I wanted to be as sure as I could be that I wouldn't relapse, wouldn't be triggered by things or people, would be able to help with ALL of my being. I started the group about 2 years after being what I loosely call "recovered." I knew I was living life, I knew I was able and capable, I knew it wasn't half wish and half truth that I would always be okay. I knew it was a sure thing (as sure as any confident person can be, that is).
Though I had been recovering for years, I'd still had slip-ups, thoughts thoughts and more thoughts, and was not totally and completely well in all ways. I sit here now "recovered" for what I would say is just over 3 years. By that I mean, a healthy state of well and capable and free of my eating disorder for 3 years. Before that, even though I was committed to recovery, I would have called myself "recovering." I hope that I've made sense. :)
One thing, though--please don't for a second, readers, think that I am perfect or without fault. Please don't think that I don't have bad days and good days like every other human being. And please don't think that there aren't days when I look in the mirror and frown for a moment before I smile. I've only been on this earth for 25 years and I'm a work in progress like anyone else. But I'm free... and you can be too. Trust me on this one. If you knew me 7 years at age 18, you'd think there was no way I'd be the woman I am today. You would have seen a scrawny girl with lack of confidence, lack of hope, and sad eyes. You'd see someone with problems wrapped around her sickly form. You'd see silence, pain, and fear. Today, I'm different. So I know it's possible to achieve freedom. If I didn't know it, I wouldn't have this blog. Wouldn't run a group. Wouldn't make weekly videos with such conviction.
And question # 2:
"What does your job involve?"
I'm a Caseworker for a non-profit agency in my county/state. I help low-income families apply and receive subsidized child care funding so they can work. Day care is expensive! I also give referrals and help out in a variety of ways in the realm of child care services. It's a helper job if there ever was one, but it doesn't pay much at all, being non-profit. Lucky for me, I like the people I work with and I'm also a writer...so I'm hoping that will get me somewhere eventually. ...When I can hopefully devote more time to it! :)
For those of you who think I'm a wonder woman fighting EDs all day, every day or for those of you who just want to know the simple me--daily life, funny stories, husband tales, baby longings, writing adventures, and all--there was a blog BEFORE this one... my regular blog One Page at a Time. It's my personal blog (has been for the last few years) and you're more than welcome to see what I'm all about, ED world aside. I know I can seem a bit "unreal" from time to time, so maybe a few glimpses into my life will show you how real I truly am!