Recovery Is a Full-Time Job
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
Megan Bazzini is a writer—an aspiring YA novelist, cringe-worthy poet, and mental health essayist. She’s also a business school grad who has lived in LA, Hong Kong, and Milan. Now she’s returned home to New York, where she is a proud chihuahua rescue mom and works in technology strategy. Megan’s eating disorder recovery mantra is, “Keep going. Recovery is worth it.” You can follow her on Twitter (@BazziniBooks), visit her portfolio, or read more of her work on her blog, Butterfly Mind.
Recovery is non-stop work. I’m not here to sugarcoat that. You can read my other essays celebrating how rewarding it is, but today I’m here to give you a pep talk. You can do this.
My healing from anorexia started in college. There were times I went to class and could only think about nutrition facts and oh my god what have I done by getting into this whole recovery thing. My grades took a hit during my second semester in recovery, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was devoted to my new morning routine, getting through mealtimes, and hiding in oversized shirts.
During this time, I had to sit with the irrational fears my eating disorder threw my way, trying to make me insecure and pull me back in. It criticized my new body and outfits. It told me I wasn’t doing good work. It felt impossible to leave the house on bad body image days.
As difficult as those days were, I’m proud of myself for carrying on. I was fortunate to be recovering in the same time period that Taylor Swift released three albums within nine months of each other. I blasted her music on my walks to and from uni and repeated recovery mantras to myself like, if it feels wrong, it’s because you’re doing something right. It’s the truth.
The times it feels impossible to go to work, school, or social gatherings are the moments when recovery is made. Recovery is standing up to the eating disorder’s screams and threats and choosing to take your life back.
Sometimes I wished I had taken time off school to focus on recovery, but I feared I’d be a burden by asking my family to extend their generosity and support further. I didn’t want to worry or stress my loved ones. I wanted to prove that I could recover and be “fine.”
I know now that there is no point in pretending like everything is “fine” in recovery. My support system would rather have heard all my recovery stories and fears than nothing at all. They were relieved I was getting healthy and growing back into the lively me they knew and loved.
For those considering taking a break from work or school to focus on recovery, I absolutely support and believe in you. Recovery itself is a full-time job. I understand that there are also those who cannot take time off for financial and other reasons; I support and believe in you too. It can be hard to manage it all, but it is possible.
Looking back, I am grateful I stayed in school. It was a relief to distract myself from body changes with some economics and Italian classes. Recovery is hard and all-consuming. Carrying on and knowing what’s best for you during this time—regardless of what the eating disorder says—is powerful.
Whether you know taking time off is best for your well-being or you are carrying on with your “normal life,” you are a recovery warrior. Recovery is rewarding and wonderful, and eventually, when you aren’t looking, you start to reclaim and enjoy that life you’ve been working so diligently for. Congratulations. You earned it and you deserve it. You are worthy of all the healing and rewards that have come your way. Don’t forget that when it feels tough.
If you have a recovery story to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be honored to share your story.