By Dr. Gia Marson
Spreading hope is part of what I love about being a psychologist. The following quotes have been shared anonymously by courageous people in recovery from eating disorders. I hope they inspire you to overcome any challenges you may be facing or to share your own success story.
Accept your emotions as they surface in the process of recovery.
When I first stopped binge eating... when I was almost recovered, I went through a massive depression. I wasn't binging, restricting, or throwing up... which I thought would make me happy. But It didn't. It made me incredibly emotional. I was sad all the time. Really sad. Painfully sad. For no reason. But I decided to live in it. I let myself be sad... maybe for the first time in my life. It was horrible and hard and I thought I was going crazy because I didn't even know why I was sad. Then, all of a sudden, the sadness went away. And this time, the eating disorder didn't come back. I truly didn't think I was hiding my feelings by having this eating disorder, but I must have been because once I let myself have that terrible month of sadness, it all went away. I haven't binged, purged, or restricted ever since. That was a year ago.
Reach out to your imperfect (because we are all human) support system.
There are so many ways that relationships meet my needs now—and it seems obvious that of course, people make up my support system, but because people had let me down at some point, I didn't trust them to meet my needs, and instead, used food. Being able to need things from others, whether they meet that need or not, has freed me of relying only on myself and food for support.
Pause and look inward so you can be present enough to develop self-love, self-compassion, self-respect.
Love yourself. Cliche I know, but really really find a way to accept and respect yourself. I am at a place now where I am so sad for the girl and woman that I was for all of those years. So lost and filled with self-hatred. Made poor decisions across the board because I was looking for external people, things, places, jobs, etc to find joy. I was empty and it did not work. Do not move houses or states or countries as a catalyst to get healthy. It will not work. Find peace with yourself. Find a way to be so in the moment that you can't help but make choices that serve your strength. You deserve that.
Full recovery is possible. It is a bumpy road, but worth the ride. We can all reduce stigma and increase early intervention by talking more often, more openly and more honestly about the truth of eating disorders & the many potential paths to healing.
If you'd like us to share your story, take 5 minutes to complete an anonymous survey.