Posts Tagged ‘Recovery’

Be Full

Backpacker observing view from mountaintop

**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Be Full

By Kaitlyn Rose

This emptiness that calls
with such urgency
is a lie,

A false promise of safety
and the ability
to Breathe
the pain.

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What Does Recovery Mean?

Woman enjoying food

The question of what constitutes recovery from an eating disorder is one that has been debated in many places by many people. Providers, families, and clients often have different perspectives, and there is a wide spectrum of beliefs within each of these groups. A key reason for this is that eating disorders have distinct physical and psychological manifestations

The physical manifestations of eating disorders are usually what drive people to the highest level of care. That is because these manifestations often carry an immediate risk to one’s physical health and require intensive clinical support. Recovery from physical manifestations is very important, but it does not constitute full recovery.

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Who Am I Without My Eating Disorder?

Man looking out on water

It’s a phrase repeated often in recovery: You are not your eating disorder. Your disorder does not define you. You are not anorexic. You are not bulimic. You are not a binge eater.

You may have these illnesses, but you are not them.

So, who are you?

The question may be met with uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, especially in the early stages of eating disorder recovery. Three short words, one giant question: Who am I?

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How to Separate Yourself from Your Eating Disorder

A person writing on a notepad

Written in partnership with Thom Rutledge

Thom Rutledge, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, and workshop facilitator based in Nashville, Tennessee. He wrote Life without Ed (with co-author Jenni Schaefer), as well as Embracing Fear, The Self-Forgiveness Handbook, The Greater Possibilities, and others. Learn more about Thom and his work at, and find him on Facebook and Instagram.

If there were an eating disorder canon, Jenni Schaefer and Thom Rutledge’s Life Without Ed would surely be in it. We see the bestseller often and with praise in reading lists and recovery stories, its lessons evoked whenever we refer to the eating disorder’s “voice.” The book demonstrates how to view your eating disorder, “Ed,” as an entity with its own values, interests, and beliefs. There is Ed, and then there is you.

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Advice for those struggling with an eating disorder during COVID-19

Woman holding face mask

Give voice to your feelings

“I’m struggling.”

If you’re struggling with your eating disorder right now, say that out loud. Say it so others can hear it and so you can hear it. Say, “Maybe I’m not okay. Maybe this situation is affecting me more than I care to admit. It’s hard—really hard—and I’m terrified it will always be.”

If your eating disorder feels silly, insignificant, or selfish in the wake of the coronavirus, you can say that. If you’re afraid the crisis will ruin the progress you’ve made in recovery, say that. If you’re hurt or annoyed by jokes about quarantine binges. . . or convinced you should “save” food for the uncertain future. . . or, frankly, more worried about weight gain than about contracting the virus itself. . . say these things.

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“Finally I Am Able to Breathe”

Sunlight behind silhouette of trees

**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Scarlet Freese struggled with anorexia from a young age. She wrote this poem to illustrate the contrast between the darkness of an eating disorder and the light of recovery. She wants others to know “it is so possible to recover.”

There is no light in this forest,
No candle or shining star
No map to guide me through this dark night

I am alone,
Completely alone

The wolves move in, surrounding me
I get pulled apart, piece by piece
Until all I am left with is a spark of hope

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