Recovering Uncertainty: Exploring Eating Disorder Recovery in Context
Attending to the shades of grey in eating disorder recovery may help to illuminate possibilities for navigating recoveries in their full complexity and diversity. There is a need for more complexity and flexibility in understandings of the timelines, processes, endpoints, and versions of eating disorder recoveries. In this article, we explore eating disorder recovery as a dynamic, intercorporeal, and non-linear process. Drawing on interviews with 20 people doing significantly better than they were during a time of acute distress around food and body, we articulate “recoveries” in relation to four themes: Fuzzy Logics of Time, Not Only Recovered, Recovery is Not All Sunshine and Rainbows, and The Life of Recovery. These themes speak to the ways in which participants struggled to articulate the temporalities of their recoveries, situated recovery as one among many events and processes that shaped their being in the world, resisted “too perfect” articulations of recovery journeys/ endpoints, and described preferred versions of and open-ended guidelines for recovery. We argue that eating disorder recoveries are as complicated and messy as lives themselves and are equally entangled in social contexts. We suggest that articulations of recovery be attuned to power dynamics as they operate in dictating which performances of eating disorders and recovery will be honoured as “legitimate” and whose pathways to recovery will be respected.