We are in the middle of the holiday season, which means that you’ve most likely endured some degree of familial stress. From the commotion of cooking large meals for the extended family to body and food-centric dinner table talk, it’s easy to see why the holidays might just be the most stressful time of the year. For those in eating disorder recovery and those who are support people, it’s essential to know what stress is and how it functions. With an understanding of the nature of stress, we can move forward compassionately and mitigate anxiety-inducing moments by utilizing positive communication skills.
**Trigger warning: this story mentions eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your own discretion and speak with your therapist as needed. This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond.
Katie Monsewicz is an avid writer and practicing journalist who has been through The Emily Program’s residential treatment program. She wants to help others who have struggled with eating disorders and those who are still struggling through her writing and as an advocate for eating disorder recovery.
The Emily Program is excited to announce our new social campaign, Beside Me When. Beside Me When aims to encourage dialogue around eating disorder recovery and showcase stories of healing and hope. We believe that talking openly about eating disorders will change the culture of secrecy and shame, thus encouraging treatment and recovery.
It’s easy to doubt ourselves during recovery— to miss our eating disorder or our old bodies or our old coping mechanisms—and that’s okay. However, just because you miss your eating disorder doesn’t mean you should go back to your eating disorder, in fact, it probably means you need to fight harder for your recovery. For those who are currently struggling with their recovery, it’s important that you reach out to your therapist, treatment team, or support system. In addition, we hope you know that you can also be your biggest advocate! By making the choice to never go back to your eating disorder, you become your strongest ally. Which is why we encourage you to be there for yourself when times get tough. One simple way to reinforce your recovery is to write a “never go back” letter.