Stumble, Support and Strength A positive approach to recovery is key, and with a progressive attitude you can silence the nagging voice and take control; but don’t expect never to fall again. You are allowed to have a blip, to stumble, to take a step backwards and grapple for a helping hand to find your feet again. Struggles come in all shapes and sizes, at all times of the year, at work, at home, in a cafe and by yourself. It’s important to tell others when you’re finding it tough. A close friend, a family member, a support worker or volunteer at First Steps, if you’re feeling yourself going backwards, speak out and find someone to keep you accountable and you’ll bounce back twice as strong. I thought I was doing great, I had found the perfect balance and I was in control, no problems here, no need to ask for help. Then the seasonal virus hit and I lost my appetite, couldn’t go to the gym and began to skip meals. I wasn’t hungry I said, I tried to push the blame onto being ill, yet with a tendency to skip meals when exercise is in low supply, I should have been more vigilant and on guard against negative thoughts. I know full well that being hungry is not the only reason to eat. I need to eat for my body, for my immune system, for my muscles to move, for my brain to think. At the time my reasoning was if I’m not hungry and I eat, it’s unnecessary food and I’ll put on weight or be sick, and I didn’t want either of those to happen. Trying to explain that to someone can be difficult and even writing it down sounds so ridiculous and illogical, but has shown me that I wasn’t as in control as I thought. A friend offered to cook for me but the barriers had already gone up and I wasn’t having any of it. It took a few weeks to get back into my usual routine and looking back I realise that I had taken a step backwards, I’d ignored a friends offer of support and listened to the voice telling me that food = bad. Even when you’re not hungry, you still need to eat. I found it difficult to distinguish between seasonal illness and the negative ED thoughts creeping back. If you’re concerned, talk to someone you feel comfortable with or speak to a doctor. Eat something, even if it’s small, find your safe foods that you’re happy to nibble at and keep a stash of them in the cupboard, in your bag and in your drawer at work. Don’t hate yourself and don’t feel guilty. Daily challenges can test your recovery but we can learn from them. You might pick up a new technique to help you progress, face a situation you didn’t think you could and come out stronger and make yourself proud. Talk to someone; put those negative thoughts back in their box and lock it shut!