Name: Jenn R.
Location: Oregon, USA
I work as a secretary. I enjoy painting/drawing, writing poetry, reading and dancing.
How has Beating Eating Disorders helped you?
Not only have I been inspired by stories, but I have also come to understand my disorder more, which has provided validation and has decreased shame. It’s taught me that while nobody’s disorder is exactly the same, I’m not alone in my experience of recovery.
Where are you in your recovery journey?
I am 2.5 years in recovery. While I still have rough days here and there, I can access my wise mind and make choices that further recovery and overall health.
What are your future recovery orientated goals?
I’m hoping to reach a place where I am accepting of my body and content in my own skin. I want to love myself fully and not be in a mental battle against myself.
What is the most helpful thing someone has said to you? What has been the most harmful?
The most helpful thing someone has said to me is that I’m not fighting this battle alone, and when I can’t find any hope, they will hold onto hope for me and remind me when I forget, while I continue to take each moment one breath at a time. Which wouldn’t have meant anything had their actions not have backed up their word.
The most harmful thing someone has said to me was post recovery weight gain. (Though still active in anorexia, it was a year after I went through a 3-4 month period of time when I was in the binging phase of anorexia recovery once I’d started eating again. Which combined with several medications, caused a quick significant increase in weight). She said, “Nobody would ever look at you and think you have anorexia.” When I said, “That stigma hurts, because people think…” she cut me off by saying, “That you stuff your face and are constantly eating?”.
Share some of your recovery insight.
Honesty is key. Especially in moments of shame, because those thoughts can’t be challenged unless we are honest. Treatment teams can’t effectively help clients recover unless they have the whole picture. It’s also important to trust the process and accept that it’s generally not going to be a quick 6 month one and done kind of a deal. True deep healing (as opposed to surface level- treat symptoms instead of the root cause) takes time, patience and resilience. But it is so worth it. It’s a time of self discovery, a time to figure out what our values are and what life we truly want to live.
Find a treatment team/provider that will challenge you, lovingly yet firmly; someone who will call you out if need be, but will also be understanding and compassionate in that process. You need someone who is real and isn’t willing to turn a blind eye to keep the peace, but will question your motives to ensure you are making choices that support your recovery goals, overall wellbeing, and will take you to the place of ultimate healing. Because that’s what you deserve.