Anorexia recovery can be a lonely, scary thing. Especially when you are just starting out.
I have such a brilliant network of supportive friends and family, but there have been times when I’ve desperately wanted to connect with people also going through recovery.
Here, the Internet can be a great source of reassurance. Below is a list of five web links that I find helpful whenever I need reminding I am not alone in recovery. (simply click on the headings!)
Some of these links have also put my mind at ease when I’ve worried about the changes to my body in recovery. Of course, there are so many resources available out there. But these are an excellent starting point, and I hope they are just as comforting to you, too.
This Buzzfeed article was one of the first things I read when I started recovery. As the title suggests, it gives fifty-seven pieces of advice from people who are either recovered or recovering. Everyone finds different mechanisms for getting better, but this article opened my eyes to things I hadn’t thought of trying, like attending cookery classes or busying your hands with a hobby like crochet. It is also a useful reminder that the recovery process differs from person to person.
Almost everyone that goes through recovery will bloat. It’s not comfortable, and it’s not fun. I’m still in the early stages of recovery, and the bloating makes my stomach feels massive. And, honestly, it’s scary. Seeing myself blow up like a balloon sometimes makes me want to restrict again, but I’m glad I’m powering through it.
This article by Tabitha Farrar details the science behind bloating, addressing the concerns that many people in anorexia recovery have about what appears to be rapid weight gain to the stomach. The main conclusion to take away? Bloating is only temporary! If you continue to eat, the bloating will eventually lessen.
(CN: the above link redirects to images of an anorexic body; images of body check).
If Tabitha Farrar’s article wasn’t enough, this post by @amalieleepriv provides a visual chronology of the body as bloating eases and weight redistributes across the body. However, I added this link with caution: it includes images of a thin, emaciated body. If this is triggering to you, please do not click on it.
I love Elzani’s vlogs, and I’m always excited when she uploads a new one. She’s a young vlogger from England who tends to make videos of her day-to-day life as she deals with anorexia recovery. She also includes her family in the videos (and they are absolutely delightful), which makes you feel like you really get to know her. When I feel I need a friend that can empathise with me, I turn to Elzani.
Her videos are also very real, as she’s incredibly open and honest with her audience. She doesn’t act like recovery is easy. Nor are her videos perfectly manicured with professional-quality lighting. She intends to show the reality of being a young person with an eating disorder.
Some of her videos also include her breakdowns, and I appreciate her bravery for sharing this. Her videos are an important reminder that recovery does have its ups and its downs, but you will make it through to the other side.
This blog post from recoverywarriors.com was a life-saver. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I was terrified by extreme hunger when I first experienced it. I had gone for months restricting my calorie intake, but when I entered recovery, I couldn’t stop eating.
For me, extreme hunger was an instant development. I got home after being diagnosed as anorexic and immediately stuffed my face with all the food I could get my hands on. That was three weeks ago, and the hunger I have felt since has remained insatiable.
(Luckily, I have not been affected by refeeding syndrome. I recommend you seek professional nutritional advice for re-introducing eating in large quantities before eating the amounts I did).
I was scared I was about to hop from anorexia to binge eating disorder. But extreme hunger is almost universal in anorexia recovery. Your body is starving. You need to make up for lost calories! If you are worried about your extreme hunger, this article should hopefully give you some peace of mind.