Disclaimer: I am not an expert in eating disorder recovery, this post is based purely on my experience. Potential trigger warning due to the discussion of ED recovery.

I have been thinking about writing about post-eating disorder recovery for a while. I don’t want to be negative but it’s something I need to get off my chest. I know that normally I write about tips for xyz but some of my best writing is when I kinda have a brain dump. Sometimes I share, sometimes I keep it private. This time I have decided to share.


So, there’s not necessarily a defining moment of when you are considered to be recovered. I wouldn’t call myself 100% recovered, but I might be at the point where this is the best going to get at. Of course I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just don’t believe I will reach 100% recovery – I’d say I’m about 85% which is pretty good! I used to be 0% so it’s still a massive achievement.

Since I think I’ve reached the point of most recovered, for me, why am I still feeling the leftover consequences of the eating disorder? It’s the hidden consequences of an eating disorder. I look fine, I just feel really alone – not only because I don’t have a lot of friends, but because no one is talking about these lasting effects. I get why, maybe it will discourage people to recover? Of course, I am still glad that I chose to recover, but there are still things about that haunt me (not sure that’s the right word).

So here are the things that still affect me and that should be talked about more.

I feel like I don’t have any friends

Any is a little bit of an exaggeration – I do have friends, but they are scattered all over the country. That’s probably what growing up is, you all move around.

I have three friends in my home town, maybe I could stretch that to 4 but I haven’t seen her in ages. The first two are amazing and I love them but they are very busy. There’s nothing I can do about that, I text them often. The third friend is also amazing but we don’t text much – she is definitely one of those friends that you see and just fall back into place with them, as if it’s only been a week or two.

At uni, I have about three friends I talk to still. Two are my flatmates so we spent lots of time together, the third is my coursemate who I only met at the end of May. I really like her, we have a very similar taste in books. I can definitely see her becoming one of my best friends. There’s a fourth friend who I really got on with but I don’t speak to that often.

Then of course there are my online friends. The two main ones, I have been friends with for years and who I love very much. I haven’t met either of them, but we will meet. I have blogger friends too who I get on with as well.

So yes, I do have friends. I’m lucky that I have a range of friends, don’t get me wrong, I know that. But I feel so alone still. Maybe it’s lockdown? I could easily blame it on lockdown because, in reality, that probably is the reason. I just want people to hang out with me – is that too much to ask? Do I have something wrong with me?

Maybe this isn’t an eating disorder post-recovery thing? Maybe it’s normal. But I distinctively remember people (i.e some of my therapists) telling me that if I let the ED go, I would be better at keeping friends around. Or that my old ones would come back – I don’t want them to. They don’t deserve for me to spend time with them, they weren’t there for me when I needed them the most.

I assumed that once the eating disorder was gone, people would want to be my friend again. They wouldn’t think I was too negative anymore.

Related post: The missing years

I almost feel like I still need someone to talk to

I don’t want to have any type of therapy or a counsellor. It’s hard to say what I want, but I feel like I have a bunch of loose ends. Maybe this is how you’re meant to feel post-ED? I am pretty much coping with depression, though I know I will have to come off my meds at some point. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Anxiety though, that’s the one at the moment.

I feel so stressed out all the time, even when there isn’t anything to worry about. I have this feeling of wanting to be in control all the time, where I want to be right all the time. It’s sort of like I want everything to be perfect and exactly the way I say or put things.

The physical consequences

IBS.

I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s definitely my least favourite post-eating disorder recovery effect. I spoke some more to a doctor a couple of weeks ago and she has now put me on some medicine as a trial period.

IBS really is a lasting effect. And it is so ANNOYING. It’s like, I want to eat and I need to but some days I feel SO ill and I’m stuck at the toilet and I can’t eat.

I have to eat regularly, I cannot afford to skip meals so feeling ill is really not the one. A few months ago I had a relapse because I skipped lunch. I spiralled very quickly and things were terrible for that day. I don’t want that to happen, believe me, I don’t.

My eating disorder leaving IBS with me is like a bee dying but leaving you will the sting. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.

Like I really want to eat a doughnut or have a stack of pancakes but I know that I’ll be on the toilet later 😕

UPDATE: I had a stack of pancakes, made them with oat milk and my stomach was fine – I’m calling that a win! 🎉

Exercise is still an issue

When will I get over this? I haven’t excessively exercised for almost 4 years. It isn’t that I’m scared of over-exercising. It is that I get that same rush of emotions even if I just do it for a short while.

A month or so ago, I played tennis with my friend. I liked it, I really did, but I still had that rush of emotions. I hate that I had them. The thing about tennis is, I used to have lessons once a week and I could never figure out if I liked it or whether it was to burn off calories. I still can’t tell what it was about. I did really like it, but I was so exhausted so it’s to know what was really going on.

Dear said rush of emotions, please leave!

And the thing is, I’m sure that exercise would help the IBS. But if I force myself to go on a walk, I’ll get the emotions. It’s the same with yoga – though that might be because so many people told me to try yoga when I was clinically depressed.

Related post: 6 things you shouldn’t say to someone with an eating disorder

Getting sensitive about other people receiving weight loss comments

Obviously, I’m sensitive about people talking about losing weight and diet talk etc. But what I actually mean is other people getting compliments about losing weight. I used to be the person who got all the weight loss compliments – not that it is necessarily a good thing. It is just probably one of those things that sting.

I don’t think that it is a trigger but it does cause doubt in my mind. I think it’s in these moments that I kinda miss my eating disorder. Which makes no sense.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Best wishes, Cx

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38 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for being so raw and open about your recovery. I’m sure this will help lots of other people in their journeys, and also it can be really therapeutic to write down how you’re feeling! Sending lots of love x
    J E M M A ♡ | https://www.ohhjemma.com/

    1. Thank you Jemma xx

  2. JamieAdStories says:

    You shared this sensitively. I hope that you know you are helping others by sharing these observations and feelings.

    1. Thank you

  3. This is such an insightful post into eating disorder recovery. I only know about this from what I’ve heard online as noone I know has had to go through this. Thank you for sharing your experiences to help others through this difficult time x

    1. Thank you ❤

  4. jessica says:

    this was really insightful and extremely relatable. thank you for writing everything so perfectly well.

    jessica | http://www.overdressedblogger.com

    1. Thank you, sending love xx

  5. I wish there was more I could do to support you than this comment! You have been through a lot it seems and you are doing amazingly well, the things that you still need support with you have every right to receive support for. If you still feel like those ‘loose ends’ need to be talked about, I hope you can find someone within your circle to do that. They may be busy but time can always be found — sending you so much love. I’m cheering you on all the way!

    1. Thank you Molly <3

  6. I feel you, Caroline! I’ve struggled with different kinds of eating disorders for over 6 years. Although I consider myself recovered, I think we can’t call it 100% and that is okay. The point is to try to keep in mind recovery every single day. There are not many triggers for me now, after almost 2 years of eating better and recovering, but for me, the biggest struggle is definitely when I meet with old friends and I see how good they look. This is horrible, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that I used to be thinner than them and I no longer look like that. I always have to remind myself how unhealthy, miserable and sad I was back then. Recovery is the best thing that happened to me, and I hope you will heal and be the happiest version of yourself! I’m proud of you and thank you for sharing this very sensitive topic.

    1. Thank you, that has really helped ❤ Sending love x

  7. Hey Caroline, I know a few people with eating disorders, and It’s heart breaking watching them struggle, so although I haven’t experienced this myself, I understand alot of your struggles. It’s great that you can share you’re story and help a lot of people aswel. Sending lots of love x♥x
    justjulieandherblog.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you <3

  8. Mind Beauty Simplicity says:

    thank you so much for sharing this! being this honest and open is so therapeutic and helpful to your readers. i personally went through a time (after my first breakup) where i went through this for an entire summer. i was very naive to the fact this can happen to anyone. i told myself i was fine but having the support of my family was great. i feel like the things you mentioned are so important to talk about because it’s a journey. spending you love. 🙂

    1. Thank you xx

  9. Trust me, it gets easier with time. You become further away from that world and the mindset. It’s a long long journey but you are doing great!

    1. Thank you

  10. Caroline, I cannot express how proud of yourself you should feel. As someone who struggles with compulsive tendencies, while I’ve never had an eating disorder I can completely empathise with a lot of your feelings. I’m sure this post will help other people in the healing journeys not feel so alone x

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

    1. Thank you Mia x

  11. I think you should be so proud of yourself. I can’t imagine how hard it must of been writing this post but you’ve written it really sensibly. I don’t have a ED myself but I’ve got friends who do and I think this post will really resonate with them. Thank you for sharing lovely Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    1. Thank you x

  12. Thank you for being so open about your recovery. I’m sure this post will help others on the same journey, and I hope I can become one of your online blogger friends. 🙂 x

    1. Thank you Olivia, definitely x

  13. OMG all of this! When I finally came out of the ED haze, I felt so abandoned. Like I had no one but the disorder had pushed them away by holding me hostage. Definitly needs to be talked about more.

    1. I definitely resonate with this x

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I know this will encourage and help many. I know some one who suffers with IBS and it is really hard of them. It truly is hard thing to go through.

    1. Thank you

  15. I’ve learnt a lot from this post and about post eating disorder recovery, I appreciate your honesty Caroline and I hope this post reaches out to a lot of people too x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. Thank you Lucy x

  16. This is a great post, I’m sure a lot of other people in similar positions will agree with a lot of these points. As with any mental illness, things don’t just click back to normal when you’re recovered or when you’re in a good place afterwards x

    1. Thank you, I agree x

  17. Thanks for taking the time to share and be real about such an important topic. I myself am learning more and more from each of these posts, and I bet there are many others that are as well. Congratulations on all your successes and I wish you the best as you continue to take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you ❤❤

  18. Gemma Jayne says:

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult post. It is definitely hard and I always say take it one day at a time. I think that feeling lonely is definitely a lockdown thing because I have felt like that too, and I know others are the same. I know the feeling that all your friends are around the country because so are mine and even the ones near me we are all so busy adulting it is so hard. Take care of yourself my lovely and I am always here if you need a chat xx

    1. Thank you xx

  19. Wow, what a great post. I loved reading your thoughts and experiences about recovering from an ED. I have not gone through this so I love getting more educated through other people’s experiences. Thanks for sharing, love x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    1. Thank you Lynn ❤

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