The word "recover" originates from the Latin word recuperare, which means "get again." Other modern English definitions include:
- return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
- Recovery from an eating disorder or eating/body image issue certainly means return to health in mind, body and spirit. [And to be clear, when I say "health" I don't mean a certain weight, because weight and health are not synonymous.]
- Healthy mind means that your brain chemistry is in balance, which requires normal eating, because some of our neurochemicals (i.e. brain chemicals) are largely produced in the gut, using nutrients in food as their building blocks. It also means that you are stimulating your mind in ways that are interesting, getting plenty of sleep, having satisfying social connections, taking time for play, and also having inward time for reflection. For more on this, see Dr. Dan Siegel's Healthy Mind Platter.
- Healthy body means that your organs are functioning properly. This happens when the body is fully nourished, getting a sufficient balance of rest and movement, taking medications that your doctor has prescribed, and seeing your doctor regularly for checkups so that you'll know early on if something is wrong. Notice that I didn't mention weight as a pre-requisite for health. That's because health is much more complicated than a number on the scale.
- Healthy spirit is more ambiguous because it is different for each of us. I suppose it could be summarized by saying that you are in touch with your soul, and with God. Being connected to something bigger than ourselves gives meaning to life, both the good times and the suffering. Nourishing a healthy spirit might mean reading scripture, praying, meditating, attending church, joining a bible study group, spending time in nature, journaling, and perhaps finding ways to serve and connect with others with love. There's so much more to this, I'm finding it hard to put in words. This is such an important, and sadly often overlooked, part of recovery.
- find or regain possession of (something that was stolen or lost).
- The ED takes over so many aspects of your life. It steals your joy and your healthy sense of self. It makes you so focused on the ED that it's like living with tunnel vision. When you Recover, you are recovering your LIFE and your SELF.
- regain control of (oneself, or a physical or mental state).
- You are also putting your True Self back in the driver's seat. Like it or not, the ED often has the wheel and is steering you wherever it wants to go, regardless of your own desires or values. The tricky thing, is that when entrenched in the ED, it's so hard for a person to see this because the ED makes them think that is IS their true self running the show.
- make up for (a loss in position or time).
- The ED does create lost time in your life. People often regret the things they missed out on during their ED years. Regret is only useful if it motivates you to recover, but dwelling on your regrets is completely self-defeating. It's important to have compassion for yourself and the fact that you have struggled with this awful issue. It's not your fault. You didn't choose or cause yourself to have an eating or body image issue. You were only doing what you needed to do at the time, and in many ways it was resourceful. But now in Recovery you have the gift of the wisdom that this has brought you. And you can move forward in a way that is life-giving.
These many definitions of the word "recover" each speak to various aspects of Recovery. I would love to hear from you, what have you recovered in your Recovery? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will read every single response.
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