We recently asked people in recovery from an eating disorder to share their thoughts about the illness. We hope these insights from those who have “been there” help if you’re seeking answers and understanding. A big thanks to everyone who contributed to this post and to all the supportive friends and family out there.
These are personal perspectives; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.
Trust your treatment team! Surrendering your false sense of control is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, and following the recommendations of your team will help YOU (not ED) regain control over your life. Easier said than done, but these guys are professionals.
Be patient. It’s going to take time. And it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. It may take years, but you will get there. Just keeping working at it and it will come.
Seek help when you are ready. Inpatient treatment is a gift, but outpatient recovery is incredibly hard. It’s harder than treatment. The safe environment becomes obsolete. People expect you are ‘fine.’ Blog. Journal. Find a great therapist. Put in the effort because it’s worth it. Give yourself compassion and grace. When you feel you are recovered give back to those who aren’t. Volunteer. Speak. Blog. Advocate. Share your story. True recovery is your own Olympic gold medal.
Don’t dismiss what the doctors and people who love you are saying. If you are in the grips of this disease, know that you have everything within you to find happiness and recovery.
Your life is much more than a number, and food doesn’t have to control your life. If you trust others that want you to get better, you will eventually see recovery is a wonderful thing.
Give it up to God or the ether or air or whatever you believe in. Give up the control and let someone else- the professionals- steer your ship. Get used to positive eating experiences again, listen to others insight, then try to examine your own thoughts.
Find supportive people who have been in your shoes but are further in recovery. It helps to have someone listen and understand.
Talk to even just one person.
Don’t give up.
Always keep hope. Stay vocal and reach out! People care and will support you, and you are never ever a burden. Stay strong, you are beautiful!
You are sick enough, you are enough, you matter, and you can do this.
One step at a time.
Never give up. Each relapse, each attempt at recovery- they are all learning experiences. Not wasted time, even though it’s so frustrating to deal with a torturous illness. Have people in your life who regularly remind you of why to keep going.
It’s hard. I’m not there yet, but I know it’s possible.
If you are questioning if you need help, you probably do. Make the call.
Stick with it and talk it out with others who understand. Say the things your mind tells you about your body out loud and decide if they’re really acceptable. They’re usually not, so you can change how to talk about yourself.
You are braver than you know and ED doesn’t have to define who you are.
Ask for help.
Silence is deadly. Talk to somebody, anybody.
You may feel that your eating disorder defines you, but you’re still a separate individual. Write a list of your hobbies, friends, things you enjoy about your job, etc, and you will see that you still live a life separate from food.
Find your motivation every day, no matter how small or silly it seems, pick one thing to get you out of bed and keep going.
Don’t EVER give up!!! Reach out to your support people when the dark, painful, scary times come. They’re only temporary!
You can do hard things.
YOU CAN GET BETTER. It will seem day in and day out that you will never get rid of these thoughts. That your ED will consume every aspect of your life so you might as well let it. This is NOT TRUE. I am not saying it comes overnight or that it’s easy but you. can. get. better. And you are not weird, or a freak, or pathetic. You are a human being that needs help.
Just start talking to people who love you.
YOU. ARE. NOT. BROKEN. You are taking care of yourself the best way you know how. Know that you are full of fire and you are truly, truly unique in this world – and if you can practice seeing yourself as a gift, even if it feels like a load of bullshit at first, you’ll be able to start living your life as a gift. You deserve to pursue pleasure; you deserve to pursue fullness; you deserve to live freely.
Keep at it! Use a journal to record your thoughts and feelings around food. Note your triggers, too! My notebook saved my life so many times.
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