- Recovery does not have a time limit – The saying goes “compare and despair, ” and it definitely rings true when it comes to recovery. I know girls who enter treatment once and get out fully recovered, and I also know girls, including myself, who return more than once to treatment. No one is better or worse, we just have different stories, and they are all valid. Everyone recovers differently and it all comes together at different times and in different ways.
- It is OK if relapses happen (as long as you keep moving forward) – I have relapsed so many times during my recovery journey, and it can be really disappointing when you feel like you have gone backward. However, it does not negate how far you have come. You just have to keep on trying because recovery is not easy and it takes bravery to keep going. I have learned something new from each relapse and slip up. You just have to keep moving forward.
- You learn who your real support system/friends are – Honestly, this one can be disappointing at times…due to struggling I have lost friends along the way because some of them did not want to stick around once they found out about my struggles. Thankfully, on the opposite end, I have found out just how amazing so many people are. Some people will go so far and do so much for you. Appreciate those people because recovery is impossible alone.
- It is ok to not be ok – I used to think that strength meant never showing others emotion or breaking down. I kept everything inside, and I did not deal with my feelings. Everything would build up, and I dealt with it in really unhealthy ways by starving myself and self-harming. Now, I know that being vulnerable is stronger than acting like everything is fine. In the words of Brené Brown “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
- “You don’t have to be ready to recover. You need only to be willing.” – You may never be fully prepared to get better. LM, the first dietitian I ever worked with told me that I gave her quite a death stare during our first meeting. I was outraged for a long time because I felt like I was forced into recovery without it fully being my decision. I was not ready to say goodbye to my eating disorder. I know now that each time I put my stubbornness aside led to being one step closer to recovery. It was ok that I did not immediately want to get better because recovery is a process.
- Recovery is possible! – I am still not fully recovered, and I am still healing from everything. But, I do know that all of this is possible. It is not easy, and it takes time. However, despite how challenging it is, it is such a rewarding thing.