TRIGGER WARNING!!! I’m recovering from an eating disorder and I’ll be describing some of my experiences below, so if you’ve suffered and you might be affected by such descriptions, here’s your warning to get out now. I’d rather both of us wait until you’re ready 🙂
So for those of you still with me, I know that veganism is associated heavily with eating disorders, and I’ll preface this with the fact that thankfully my veganism has nothing to do with my eating disorder. I went vegan because I don’t like eggs, am allergic to dairy, and don’t process animal protein very well at all. Besides that, it’s healthier for me.
That said, I had a triggering event a few nights ago when I was drinking with my husband. I’m still in the tender stages of recovery (4 months without having weighed myself, only about 3 weeks from my last compulsive thoughts, 3 months from my last starvation diet) and my husband was a little careless with his words. He said he was “cutting me off” because I had “eaten twice as much as I normally do and that wasn’t okay.” He didn’t realize that his words hit my like a blow, and I was tipsy enough not to say anything.
That night I had nightmares about being fat and my clothes felt tighter then normal, causing me to wake up in a sweat at 6 AM with stronger urges to purge than I’d had in months. It took almost 2 hours to get the panic attacks that followed to stop.
What struck me though, was that this all felt out of the ordinary. After I calmed down and stopped the self-berating, I realized that I was upset that it happened. That I had treated myself that way. That I had hated my body again for the first time in months. And it hit me again like a thunderclap:
This is what recovery feels like.
Because this is a size blog as well as a vegan one, and because our community tends to attract people with eating disorders due to the “restrictive” nature of the diet (at least in a carnist culture), I wanted to put out a message of hope to everyone who suffers in this community as I have that there is indeed hope. Through counseling and body work, though I’m still obese, I’ve gotten to the point where this sort of compulsive self-hatred is a symptom rather than my reality.
When you get to the point that you not only recognize such feelings as being out of the norm but don’t judge yourself for having them, congratulate yourself for getting through them unscathed. Rejoice in your own strength. Because managing this is a fundamental act of self love and proof that you can keep doing it as long as you need to. It’s proof that you are strong and valuable as you are. And if you also happen to be vegan?
That is proof of your strength, your compassion. That is proof of your worth. Because it DOES take strength to stand up for what you believe in, to live in opposition to carnist and diet culture, to choose a life that does the least harm that you possibly can. You have a beautiful soul, and realizing that?
That is what recovery feels like.