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Recovery Story #35: What Is This Really About?

By September 20, 2019April 6th, 2020ANAD Blog

My eating disorder started at 18 as a combination of depression, perfectionism, and starting to obsess over food and exercise as a college athlete.

What truly helped in my recovery was attending inpatient treatment, ongoing psychotherapy, family support, and an unwavering desire to utilize my struggle to help others overcome similar issues aided in my recovery. I found that inpatient treatment was helpful, but for me, the real work of recovery was in taking daily action to recognize eating disordered (ED) thoughts and actively push against them. Whenever ED thoughts arise, I now get curious and ask myself, “What is this really about?” To me, ED thoughts are like red flags. They are an indicator that there is something deeper going on that needs my attention. I learned that the eating disorder was never about the numbers or how I looked, but rather it was a source of power and control. Now 6 years in recovery, I practice actively working against ED thoughts as they arise. These thoughts are fewer and farther between, but I value them now as an indicator that there is something else that needs my attending. I now am a psychotherapist who work works with women struggling with addiction and issues of self-worth. To this day, accountability continues to be essential in my recovery. Having one person that I can be honest with on days when ED is a bit more vocal is helpful and keeps me moving forward in my recovery.

I have seen first hand the impact that being recovery can make. I am able to feel internal peace and to offer my presence and support to others who in turn can make a positive impact in their communities. By getting healthy and practicing self-compassion on a daily basis, I am able to authentically help others develop self-compassion and move forward in their lives.

Recovery is a daily, non-linear, course of action. Some days will be more difficult than others, but every day in recovery freedom from the mental prison of an eating disorder. There is true joy and lasting well-being that comes with doing the hard work of recovery. Being in recovery has led to a sense of joy and freedom that I did not know existed.

I am a 31 year old survivor of childhood sexual trauma.