I utilize my own shared recovery experience to provide compassionate recovery care and empower clients to a life of health and wellness.
My struggle with my eating disorder began when I was nine. Though behaviors came later, obsessive thoughts about food and my body had already been planted as seeds that would grow into an eating disorder. In high school, I began restricting and over-exercising, doing my best to hide my behaviors from everyone around me. Though I didn’t think I had a problem, I didn’t want anyone to know, either.
I engaged in behaviors in secret for years. It wasn’t until my eating disorder spiraled out of control during my freshman year of college that I had to face the disorder head-on. I began seeing an eating disorder therapist and dietitian the summer after freshman year. But despite efforts to stay in school while in recovery, I remained unwell and my dad pulled me out of my first semester of sophomore year early to admit me to a day treatment program at home.
Over the last ten years, I’ve admitted to every level of care at different points in my recovery process. I wish that my first treatment admission had been the last, but my story unfolded differently. I wouldn’t change it, though. Each treatment stay has taught me invaluable lessons and skills that have allowed me to flourish in this new stage of recovery.
Yes. There was a moment last year at my sickest when I was truly scared of what could happen. And I’m so, so grateful for that fear. It was critical in teaching me that I wanted to live more than I wanted the vacant promises my eating disorder made. The fear became a cataclysm of sorts for my eating disorder. The beginning of the end of my illness, and the beginning of true dedication to recovery.
When I’m overwhelmed with shame, I like to journal out the thoughts I’m having and defuse from them. Defusion is a technique from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that helps put distance between yourself and your thoughts or feelings. “I am a bad person” becomes “I am having the thought that I’m a bad person.” I write every single shameful thought I’m having in the moment out like this, almost as a litany. Sometimes I’ll write the same thought more than once if it’s powerful and recurring. The litany helps me see every shameful thought as just that — a thought. Once it’s words on paper, the feeling of shame loses its power over me.
Yes! The Intuitive Eating workbook is phenomenal. I also highly recommend the book Diana, Herself by Martha Beck. While it is not a book about recovery, it’s about connecting with our sense of self, our inner knowing, and our ability to trust ourselves. It was instrumental in helping me reframe my power and agency in my recovery.
One day, you will wake up and you will not measure out your breakfast. When you take a bite, the calculator in your head will be silent. You’ll forget it ever existed. When your friend invites you for coffee, you’ll have a cappuccino and laugh when the froth covers your lips and your smile will reach your eyes this time. You will be present. Your body will feel like home.
Recovering is the kindest thing you will ever do for yourself. It is also the hardest thing you will ever do. But it will be worth it. There is a beautiful life on the other side of it all, waiting for you to come home to yourself.
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