Recovery Conversations: A Q&A with Rachel

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**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Recovery Conversations is a question-and-answer series that features voices and stories of eating disorder recovery. In this edition, Rachel reflects on what she has learned about the process of healing and shares her favorite recovery song, strategies, and advice for others affected by eating disorders. 

What one word would you use to describe life with an eating disorder? What one word describes recovery?

Life with an eating disorder is small and life in recovery is big. There is so much life beyond the limited world of an eating disorder that you really can’t see until you have some distance from it.

What do you wish you knew earlier in your recovery?

I wish I knew that recovery isn’t a final destination or place you arrive at all of a sudden. It’s an ongoing process of getting better. I used to see it in black-and-white terms (either a serious eating disorder or full recovery), but the in-between is actually where recovery happens.

Favorite recovery song?

I like “Rise Up” by Andra Day whenever I need extra motivation to keep fighting against the critical eating disorder voice. I listen to it whenever I’m feeling hard on myself and want to give up or relapse. It always gives me at least a bit of hope and encouragement.

What strategies help you protect your recovery today?

Taking care of myself is the most important thing I do today. That means that I obviously need to eat, but I also need to get enough sleep and rest. Being overly busy is a big trigger for me so I have to be deliberate about protecting the time I need to rest and make sure I’m taking care of myself. It’s also important to remember that I need to be the one to make sure I’m eating and resting well; no one else is going to do that for me.

If you could give one message to someone currently experiencing an eating disorder, what would it be?

First and foremost, you are not alone. An eating disorder can make you feel like you are or that this is a problem you caused yourself, but that is so untrue. I was blown away by all the people who were willing to support me when I reached out for help, so I’d encourage you to take a chance and open up to someone who cares about you. I know it’s hard, but I promise you that no one is expecting you to fix an eating disorder all by yourself.

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