One of the first things they said to me at the eating disorder clinic was that we had to stabilize my situation as soon as possible so my eating disorder wouldn't be longterm or chronic. Now here's a radical thought, but I think that your disease is chronic or not from the very start. Aka I believe that in the very beginning when you start developing your eating disorder, its either chronic or short time. So, I was there at the clinic, got the best professional help I could possible have asked for, and when I got home I had this high hope of getting rid of the disease completely, since that was what they had put in my head. No one talked to me about what was going to happen if I had a relapse, because both the professionals and my family wanted to live with the hope of my anorexia just being a short time disease.
But what does it mean to have chronic anorexia? Can't you cure it? I've tried close to everything after I got to learn my anorexia wasn't short time: therapy, food therapy, cognitive behavior pattern therapy, group sessions, yoga for people with eating disorders, food programs, no food programs, meditation, ignoring the disease, joking about the disease, getting a therapy dog. I wish there was a magical pill for chronic anorexia you could take once a day to not be ill. Like a birth control pill to prevent pregnancy, an eating disorder pill to prevent anorexia. But there is none.
I've been living with my eating disorder for over 6 years now and I've come to known this evil friend of mine pretty well. I know when the disease is tricking me into feeling fat, skipping a meal and more. I know which thoughts are mine and which are the anorexia talking. But still I feel completely helpless since I can't get rid of it.
What I find quite weird is that doctors will tell you what to do when another relapse is about to hit you or when a new anorexia wave is showing up. But no one will tell you what to do in the meantime. Just sit there and wait for the next time you're unable to eat and are ready to get back to the eating disorder center? No one tells you how to live with a chronic eating disorder during the times when you're "okay". By these times I mean the parts when you're able to eat in a way that's considered normal and you are able to stay on some sort of stabile weight. But you still have the exact same thoughts and fears about food and you still more or less hate your body.
I'm actually very tired of talking through the disease and hearing the same advice from therapists, doctors and others over and over again. A pair of understanding eyes looking at you, saying "you just have to keep going" and "remember to eat even when it's hard" doesn't really help, at all, and the only time I feel people can help me is when I'm so ill that neither my body or head is functioning. Because then it's the actual food you get help with. One spoon at a time either at home or in the hospital, until you are back on your feet again. But in between being "okay" and being totally screwed up because the disease, there isn't that much you can do.
Because of all the reasons above I try to stay positive and happy when I have my "okay" period as now. But it's a constant worry and anxiety that you can't overcome. And now it's not just about me and my well-being anymore. I'm married and I'm having a baby. Which means I can't afford a relapse in the way I could before. I can't be a good mom from an eating disorder clinic with a weight close to death. I can't let my chronic eating disorder become a disorder for my child as well. So now my absolute goal for this year, what I would want more than anything (after having a healthy baby) is to find a way to STAY "okay". Find a way to live with this eating disorder without the lows being too low to handle. At times I feel hopeless, but most of the time I still want to believe that there's a life without my dear friend anorexia.