Every Road is Different - Keep Moving Forward
Type any address into a GPS device, and you will get at least three different routes via several modes of transportation. There are many ways to get to your final destination. Recovery can be the same. There are many different roads to recovery and just like travelling; there are many paths that can lead you to your goal of a life where your eating disorder (ED) is no longer in control.
Recovering from an eating disorder can be compared to fighting a war. Each battle fought is an opportunity to gain ground. At times a battle may not go in your favour, but there are weapons and tools you can acquire that might lead to a more favourable outcome. When I first decided to start battling my eating disorder, I explored many places online to find out what steps I would need to take to get on the right track. So many sites had "answers”, steps to get the ED monster (as I prefer to call it) off my shoulders. Though some sites offered similar advice, most seemed to have very different approaches. Deciding what was right for me was hard. I tried numerous strategies. Some worked for short periods while others seemed to assist ED’s control over my life. Although the internet was a great resource, it was not giving me all the tools I needed to battle ED.
I was fairly alone at this point in my life. I was living in a new city and still hadn't developed a support base, but I mustered up all my courage and went to a counselor. The first counselor I saw wasn't the right fit. She was very clinical and I found it hard to connect. After I left I had a setback. I was afraid to try again. I knew I couldn’t do this alone. 20yrs of having ED in my life wasn't going to suddenly change. I decided to try another counselor and this time I found what I needed. The woman worked with me, cared for me and helped me to see my strength and worth which for me, was the first real step I took in my journey recovery. While working with her, she got me into an outpatient ED treatment program which gave me more tools to help me through each battle.
As time went on, I eventually developed support systems and gained more strategies and tools. Yet there were still battles I lost. There were times I felt the war was over because I had experienced a setback. There were times when I needed more support than my support system could provide, which led to inpatient treatment. However, during these difficult times, I focused on all the new tools I was gaining which would prepare me for the next battle. Sometimes battles lasted for days however I knew I had to keep going. Believing that I was strong, courageous and a survivor was pivotal to my recovery.
The road to recovery is different for everyone. I tried groups, one on one counseling, mentors, inpatient and outpatient treatment, everything I could to get better. For some people, it comes down to having the right person in your life, someone who cares for you just because you are you and not because they want you to be someone different. I have such a person in my life. It took a long time to build that trust but eventually I did. I saw why I was cared for and why I needed to be healthy, because I cared for them also. And as much as I needed them I knew they needed me.
I encourage you to find your road. Sometimes your initial route may lead to a setback, however know that it isn't the end and there will be another path to get you back on the road to recovery. Find your supports, if the people you have in your support circle aren't being supportive and encouraging, find someone else. I encourage every ED survivor to create their own tool box, something you can go to when you need resources to help battle ED.
Recovery is possible. Have courage and strength and know you can be victorious over ED. You are a survivor!
Cora Wright is a gymnastic coach in Kingston ON. Recovered from an ED after 20 years of suffering, her goal is to help and educate others on the possibility of recovery. Cora is also dedicated to educating children at a young age to help them succeed and be healthy.