Posts Tagged ‘Guest Bloggers’

Recovery Conversations: A Q&A with Rachel

A woman wearing a green tank top looking to the side

**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.

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Recovery Is Anything But a Straight Line

Abby Anderson

**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.

By Abby Anderson

My body had an eating disorder long before my brain knew I did. That’s the thing about this kind of disease—it’s not always caught before the damage begins. What’s more, there’s no medicine to make it go away. My perspective in the beginning was centered on extreme perfectionism. What once centered in school and extracurricular activities was now morphing into eating rituals and weigh-ins. I became a physical representation of control.

The day I admitted I had a problem was one filled with relief and fear. I was opening myself up for what felt like the first time in my life. Asking for help was always foreign to me and this was the ultimate reach. It felt freeing to no longer bear the burden on my own, but I was terrified. I was desperate to change my thoughts while maintaining a tight grasp on the physical body I had “earned” through manipulation and scarcity. My perspective was a combination of exhaustion and complacency. I was ready to listen.

Immersed in treatment, I’d say my attitude and interest were positive. It felt good to take the back seat, to have people who were meant to help me and to educate myself on the ways in which my behaviors were anything but healthy. It was such a contrast to my previous life. My physical and emotional muscles were worn out, relaxing into the hands of professionals with meal plans and endless therapy sessions. I was at peace here. Home in a place that I never expected to be. It was the first time in my life I stopped trying to help everyone else and instead started helping myself.

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Choosing to Say Yes to Treatment

A yellow butterfly on a purple lilac

**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.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Choosing to say yes to the eating disorder treatment that is offered after your diagnosis can be scary. Most likely, you’ve been living with your eating disorder for some time, and it has been your go-to coping skill when life got hard. Yet, I am living proof that while it is scary at the beginning, it is very rewarding at the same time. There is so much you gain from seeking a recovery journey.

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Celebrating Five Years of Anorexia Recovery

Julia Tannenbaum

**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.

Julia Tannenbaum is the author of The Changing Ways trilogy, which she started writing when she was seventeen, and the co-creator of Nourish, an online cookbook and eating disorder recovery blog. She’s an advocate for mental health awareness and often incorporates her personal struggles into her written work. Tannenbaum is currently pursuing a Creative Writing and English B.A. at Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut with her family.

I still find it surreal sometimes that it’s already been five years since I was in my last treatment program. Five years since I’d wake up in the morning and dread the moment I’d have to eat. Five years since I was convinced that my identity was dependent upon my disorder. Five years since I tried to hurt myself. Five years since that fateful moment, at the tender age of fifteen, when I realized I deserved more than the half-life I was living and finally committed to recovery.

I distinctly remember that moment as if it happened only yesterday. I was in the process of being admitted to my second residential treatment center (my ninth inpatient program overall), having just come straight from an ED ward where, for the first time, I’d been exposed to adults with eating disorders. Seeing women in their thirties, forties, even fifties and sixties, walking around evoked a revelation: I didn’t want to be here in a couple of decades. I didn’t want to be chained to my disorder forever. I wanted to get better.

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Making the Invisible Visible: A Q&A with Artist Alex Rudin

Alex Rudin

**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.

Alex Rudin is a multimedia artist based in New York City. Her artwork is narratively focused on the complexities of the human experience through stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. Her intent lies in uncovering and expressing the truths of what it is like to be a woman in modern America. Alex is currently creating work surrounding feminist issues, including eating disorders and sexual abuse. In addition, Alex regularly uses her work to speak about political and social justice issues. She has partnered with organizations such as Women for the Win, Article 3, and The Sam & Devorah Foundation, among other female-led orgs. Alex’s writing and artwork have been featured in USA Today Mag, Grit Daily, Yahoo.com, and The Female Lead. She has shown in both solo and group exhibitions in New York, Delaware, and Philadelphia.

In this Q&A, we ask Alex about her artwork and the impact of art on those creating it, those consuming it, and on society at large. She explains how art has benefited her recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder and shares samples from her portfolio.

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Recovery is Possible

A hand holding flowers over a body of water

By Alex Ellen

**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. This post includes references to domestic violence and abuse. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

When I was 13, I had to quit gymnastics due to an injury. This, combined with hitting puberty, resulted in a little, very normal weight gain. I wanted to get “fit” again, so I began eating what seemed like a very healthy, balanced diet, and exercising more. It seemed like simple maths: less in, more out. 

As I started to lose weight, one of my friends said to me, “Don’t go all anorexic on us though.” I never had heard the word “anorexic”… so I asked what it was, and she explained, “Some girls stop eating to lose weight.” And I remember in that exact moment, the feeling of the “penny dropping.” It had never even occurred to me to stop eating, but I thought, Well that would be quicker and easier. And, just like that, I stopped eating.

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