Why recovery blogs (such as this one) should be read with discretion

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I write a recovery blog, so I understand the irony of this post. I need to write it anyway.

When I had “active” anorexia, I never read a thing about it. I remember a couple of times people trying to send me a newspaper or magazine clipping on anorexia (yes, I am that old, and blogs were not really a thing 15 years ago). I threw them away and pretended I had never received them. I was taking a psychology degree at the time, and so couldn’t escape a couple of lectures on eating disorders, but other than that I totally head-in-sanded the subject. I did not want to know.

When I was in recovery, I never read any blogs, memoirs, anything. I read some of the FEAST forum, but that is about it. If anything, I researched scientific literature to help me understand things I was experiencing physically. I’ve only ever read a handful of other people’s recovery blogs. To this day, I have never read a book on anorexia. I don’t think I ever will, to be quite honest. That is an embarrassing truth to admit, because I now have plenty of friends in the field who have written books on anorexia, and it feels rude for me to say I’ve not read them. But that is the truth. It’s not that I don’t want to read them because I am worried I would find them triggering or anything like that, it is because if I have time to read a book — which is rare — it is going to be one from my bucket list of books I want to read. When I read I read for fun.

In recovery, I very much did my own thing. And then I started writing about it. Sometimes, and this is the ironic part, I think that one of the reasons I was so able to use my common sense in recovery was that I was so ignorant as to how recovery was done. I didn’t have thoughts of “well, so-and-so says this,” or “but whosit did this to recover … .” I just did what felt right (in terms of my healthy brain, of course, not my anorexia brain).

Writing about my anorexia experiences has been a blessing. But, there is something that concerns me about people reading recovery blogs, and that is they forget that they are a unique, special, individual, and that no two humans are the exact same.

Sharing stories is important. We can and do learn from one another. We inspire, and are inspired by one another. But my story, and my recovery, cannot be used as a blueprint. You have your own personal experience, and you will have your own unique path to recovery.

Anything you read in my blog I have written because it is my truth. If my truth doesn’t sit right with you, or conflicts with what you know about your body and your life, then you have to defer to what you know is right for you. Your own experience and knowledge about yourself trumps the advice of a stranger on the internet.

The older (and wiser?) I get, the more I am learning to use fewer blanket statements, not more. The more I understand the importance of making it clear that I write about my experiences, and that no one person’s experience can be taken as a rule.

Nobody in the world has more information about your eating disorder than you do. Nobody knows your life better than you do. Nobody else is living in your body. You are the person most qualified to make decisions about what is right for you.

As you read this blog, remember you are you. Take what you need from this blog, and leave the rest.

Please follow and like me :):

What do you think?

  1. Thank you for this Tabitha. It’s so real for me, I am a people pleaser by nature and part of my recovery has been making sure I’m pleasing/adhearing to how other people think I should be doing it. The better I get though the more in control of my own recovery and how I want to do it it becomes. My initial stages and all of my knowledge has come from you though….thank you for freeing me x

  2. So often I have to practice stepping up and advocating for myself. I have to remind others that my recovery process is not like so-and-so’s recovery, and tell them not to speak on my behalf unless I ask them to, because I am the only one qualified to answer questions about my own situation. Your blogs have really inspired me to have the courage to speak up and ask for what I need and to accept that it’s perfectly acceptable to stumble along the way, as long as I keep trying. Thank you for all you do.

  3. All I’m reading here is that ‘extreme hunger’ for me IS just me being greedy like I thought and that I AM different from everything that I read about it being normal, that I need to restrict because I was obese before my ED at BMI 42, still currently BMI 22 diagnosed with ATYPICAL anorexia so too fat to even be actually sick, and I just ate 1000 calories for breakfast not because of extreme hunger… but because I am a greedy fat pig like everyone has told me my whole life.

    My recovery process IS different. I need to recover from being greedy and a fat pig – if anyone is asking, that’s MY truth.

    Sorry this comment sounded harsh, I know it did. My comment perhaps HAD to be harsh, because MY truth IS harsh. My truth is that I’m not sick, I’m just greedy. My truth is that I should be eating under 800 calories a day and exercising way more than I have even currently been managing. My truth is that I am still too fat and should be a BMI 19 or under because I have a small frame. My truth is that I don’t have an eating disorder that I need to recover from – eating disorder maybe, but I NEED one because I am a fat pig without one. That’s all my truth – so that’s what I should go on, right?

    And if not that, then all I have are blogs like this. What the hell am I supposed to believe if not what I read on recovery blogs?

  4. Thank you Tabitha. Strongly agree with your comment that in the end, there is no point comparing your journey, your illness and road to recovery with ANYONE else’s. Really enjoying your blogs & articles.