Today is the day that my best friend and I climb a mountain to raise money for b-eat. I wanted to climb a mountain because it felt very fitting as recovery from anorexia nervosa has often felt like climbing a mountain and now I will explain why.
When you first start climbing a mountain you can’t always see the top, you might be able to see a third of the mountain, half at the most. Mist will stop you from seeing the pinnacle. Because you can’t see the top, you can’t imagine what it’s like up there, you can’t vision it and it seems unreachable. You begin to doubt that you can get there. At the beginning of recovery it felt like that for me and it still does. I can’t imagine what a ‘recovered life’ looks like, I often wonder about it. What would my life look like? What would I eat? How would I feel? I can’t remember what life was like without anorexia and there are days that I doubt I can reach recovery because it is so far away. There’s so much to overcome and climb before I get there but that doesn’t make it impossible.
Climbing a mountain involves a lot of walking and can take a long time, the same as recovery includes a lot of meals, a lot of therapy and a lot of trust and takes a long time, you may stumble and slip down the mountain a but you aren’t at the bottom again. You are still on the mountain even if it feels like you’re struggling. You might have relapsed but you are not stood back in the car park, you are still somewhere on the mountain to recovery.
I don’t know many people that have recovered from anorexia and aside from the people I know online I don’t know many people who have an eating disorder besides myself which often makes me feel quite alone in recovery. On the days I’m consumed by self-doubt I find it hard to believe I will ever recover because it feels like I am the only one on this journey. Not everyone climbs a mountain in their lifetime. I don’t know many people who have climbed mountains and knowing that a lot of people don’t do it can make it feel like an impossible task. People don’t climb mountains because it takes energy, endurance, motivation and determination, that can make it feel impossible but it isn’t.
When climbing a mountain you will get tired and you will get breathless. You will have to take regular breaks, sit down for five minutes and get your breath back before you carry on. Recovery is similar, you will struggle to go right from the bottom to the top in the quickest way possible. You have to take things at your own pace and you might need to hold things steady for a while before you carry on up the mountain. Recovery is about you and you have to make sure you can manage the stage you are at in recovery.
There may be hiccups in the mountain climb, a tree blocking a path meaning you have to turn around and go another way or ice that slows you down or makes you slip. Recovery will not always be perfect, you will slip up and have blips but that’s okay. I can guarantee you that it won’t be a perfect straight line from illness to health. You may have to re-trace your steps and go over the same thing a few times, you may fall and binge or restrict but you haven’t failed. Just keep trying, part of recovery is accepting that there are imperfections and mistakes do happen.
It may feel too difficult at times, the cold wind blowing in your face and your whole body feels exhausted and you just want to give up. When climbing a mountain it feels hardest the nearer you get to the top, the weather worsens and the temperature drops and it can feel hard to breathe but you have to keep going because the peak of the mountain is just around the corner. Recovery can feel impossible at times, you might feel exhausted and want to give up and stop trying but it could feel difficult because you are nearly there. Hold on tight, health and happiness is around the corner.
Walking down the other side of a mountain is so much easier than climbing up it. You will feel amazing because of what you have achieved. You’ll feel free and run down the steep drops. Recovery is difficult and really hard work but once you’ve reached the other side it will feel amazing. One day it will be easier. You can climb the mountain to recovery and live a freer, healthier and happier life.
Here’s today’s sock it to eating disorders silly socks photo:
Today is Sock It To Eating Disorders Day, wear your silliest socks and tell the world that eating disorders can be beaten.
To find out more about our mountain climb and to donate please visit: http://www.justgiving.com/climbED