Today I asked my boyfriend if he could do me a favour. I asked him if he would help me write my next blog post. I wanted this post to come from another person’s perspective. I wanted this post to explain how people around someone in recovery feel. The best person I could think of was my partner who has been with me through my entire recovery journey.
My boyfriend has demonstrated insane strength this entire journey. He has held me through my anxiety attacks, he has listened to me when I’m sad or angry. He reminds me that he loves me. He reminds me that I am beautiful no matter what size I am.
I won’t lie to you and say we haven’t had slip ups along the way. The eating disorder monster can be pernicious and pervasive. The eating disorder monster can overreact when he is only trying to help. The ED has caused us both a lot of pain. Although it’s hard experiencing an ED, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for my partner. I could imagine I would feel so powerless and lost, watching the person you love go through such vicious swings.
My man is strong, gentle and kind. Here is what he said when I asked him to outline the seven ways recovery has benefited our relationship:
1. Conversation – We have been able to more free and flexible with the topics we talk about and the ED no longer dominates
2. Happiness – Your general happiness has improved so much! Good to see more of that smile smile emoticon
3. Dates – No longer are we locked into Thai restaurants with the classic “and no rice please”. This is an awesome one because its obvious how much you enjoy your old fear foods.
4. Sense of humour – Its hard to see how this would be ED related or recovery related but it seems to have correlated with other improvements
5. Head space – Its clear to me that you are in a better frame of mind, you appear to see things from more perspectives and have a greater understanding.
6. Behaviour – Your general addictive/habitual behaviour has become more relaxed in the sense that its okay to sleep in some days, its okay not exercise, its okay to not have that coke/jelly
7. Improved self worth – To me, you are handling the whole recovery so well! The combination of increase food variety and volume with decreased exercise has not led you to believe you aren’t a good person or a worthy person. If anything, with your learning and influence of all your inspirations has helped you feel better about yourself
My boyfriend massively contributed to my decision to pursue recovery. My disorder was affecting our relationship. He was worrying about me alot and he would express his concern. Eventually he stopped trying because would just brush it off.
We couldn’t do so much. Why? Because I was completely dominated by my regimes. We couldn’t go out for lunch.We could only go to certain restaurants for dinner (mentioned in number 3) and I would always delicately ask for “no rice please”. We couldn’t go on fun dates together that normal couples would, like sharing some popcorn at the movies or grabbing ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s.
My attitude was different. I was more sullen. I would get frustrated by little silly things that may not have bothered me if I wasn’t hungry or tired.
My body was different. My boobs shrank and my bones and ribs started to become more prominent. This frightened him and our romantic life suffered because of it.
I agree with him on so many levels. My recovery has made me happier. My recovery has made our relationship more fun and more exciting. We can go to unfamiliar locations now. We can enjoy ice cream together. We can go to whatever restaurant we please. My recovery has made me less obsessed with image and beauty and has made me more interested in other more interesting aspects of life.
The most profound point I think he made was number 7. Improved self-worth. For so long I believed that thinness would make me happy. I believed being slim would be the answer to my problems and I would magically love myself when I achieved a certain size. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Now that I am eating more, exercising differently and gaining weight (yes I said the weight word 😉 ) I have discovered self -worth.
Because my worth is not determined by the way that I look or the size of my thighs.
My worth is not determined by my goddamn weight.
My worth is determined by my attitude, my kindness, my intellect. My worth is determined by whether I am a good person.