Saturday, May 28, 2011

This post concludes my three part post on RECOVERY! If you missed the first two, check them out here and here. I started this series after a reader asked a question about whether or not full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of quotes from professionals and share their responses! 

"As former eating disorder sufferers, Liana and I feel that a full recovery is absolutely possible. We like our bodies, we eat when we're hungry and stop when we're full, and we think about more pressing issues than the number on the bathroom scale. We also think its important that people continue to push themselves in recovery until they ARE at that place. It is very easy to become complacent, but you can be 100% recovered if you fight 100% of the eating disorder. It often takes many years, but it is very possible and very worth it!"
Kristina Saffron and Liana Rosenman, co-founders of Project H.E.A.L.

"Like Dr. Daniel LeGrange said in his article, an eating disorder is someone's Achilles heel. Relapse remains a possibility for anyone with an eating disorder history, and we would be blind if we didn't prepare people for the possibility that the illness could return. What I think gets lost in the discussion--what I don't think gets emphasized enough--is that preparing for the possibility of relapse doesn't mean spending every waking hour fighting eating disordered thoughts and symptoms. Instead of referring to "recovery," physician Julie O'Toole, founder and director of the Kartini Clinic in Oregon, refers to eating disorder "remission." Just like cancer, a person with an eating disorder can have no detectible signs of illness. Other than periodic tests and check-ups, the person lives a normal, healthy, disease-free life. But experience has taught oncologists that cancer can return. We don't need to be afraid of it, but we do need to prepare for it.

I remain optimistic that full recovery is possible in many people with eating disorders, especially if caught early and treated aggressively. I've seen many people turn their eating disorder from a life-consuming illness into a piece of their past. I've also seen happy, well-adjusted former sufferers relapse through no fault of their own.

An eating disorder doesn't just go away. It's not a cold. One bout with an eating disorder doesn't leave you "immune" to further onslaughts. I have friends from high school who have asked me if I was "over it" yet. A chronic eating disorder isn't something you just get over. It's not something you forget about like the stomach flu or a broken ankle. As much as I intend to one day refer to my eating disorder in the past tense, I also know that I need to keep my recovery very much in the present tense no matter how long it's been since I counted calories or could see my thighs magically expanding after eating cake."
Carrie Arnold, a freelance science writer, author, and Psychology Today blogger.

"I consider myself fully recovered from using eating disordered coping thoughts and behaviors to deal with the stressors of daily life. However, I view the experience of recovery itself as an ongoing continuum and think that the purpose and need for developing a personal understanding of terms such as "recovered" or "recovering" is as unique to each person as the path their individual journey will take. I view the debate re: "in recovery" versus "fully recovered" as part personal preference and part pure semantics and think that care must be taken when placing emphasis on the destination rather than the necessary work the daily recovery journey requires (i.e. reining in impatience and recognizing that there is a reason recovery takes time). Personally, my view of "recovery" aligns closely with that of Dr. John Nash, the famous Nobel Prize winning economist/mathematician who achieved and has maintained an ongoing remission from paranoid schizophrenia. I view my recovery as a remission and that is helpful to me in maintaining my health and wellbeing as the years go by."
Shannon Cutts, creator of MentorConnect, author of Beating Ana, educator and speaker.

Shannon's response struck a chord with me because I have often used the same analogy of Dr. John Nash and his remission from schizophrenia, and haven't heard anyone else use that same analogy before! The movie 'A Beautiful Mind' that was made about 10 years ago chronicled Dr. Nash's life and there is one scene in particular that I have used as an illustration with ED recovery that occurs at the very end of the movie. Spoiler Alert!! Dr. Nash is walking through campus, and he is aware of the delusions that he is seeing (different people that are talking to him that don't really exist), yet he does not stop to talk to them or acknowledge them.. he keeps on walking. They don't have an impact on him anymore, even though they pop up from time to time. I tried to find a clip of it on You Tube because it is a really powerful moment in the film and one that makes a lot of sense when compared to an eating disorder. The bottom line- recovery from an ED is possible. It is possible. Have hope and patience, and seek out the proper treatment and support! If you have any questions or comments about ED recovery, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section or send me an email at Thanks again to all of you who contributed to these posts :).

No comments:

Post a Comment