Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Gifts of Eating Disorder Recovery: Mental Health Awareness
written by, Erica Ives
The rewards of finding recovery, nurturing them, and honoring the growth.
If you are in the early stages of eating disorder recovery, the concept of the gifts of eating disorder recovery may understandably be a difficult concept to grasp. If you are further along on your journey of recovery, you may know more of what I am referring to. However, no matter where you are in your recovery, my hopes in writing this blog are to reinforce the fact that the gifts of eating disorder recovery can be and are truly incredible.
Being a woman, even before being a therapist, who has walked on my own journey of recovery after battling an eating disorder that consumed at least 15 years of my life, I will never forget the early stages of recovery. One of the reasons I so clearly connect to my early recovery is because I have the honor of helping others struggling with an eating disorder. Another reason is because it easily connects me to the feeling of gratitude and another opportunity to remember my gifts of eating disorder recovery. And let me tell you, that the early stages seemed so dark, with only slight glimmers of light. But, those who lit my path of early recovery continually helped me to understand the meaning of the gifts of eating disorder recovery.
The gifts of eating disorder recovery come at so many areas including a physical, emotional, cognitive (thoughts), interpersonal (relationships), vocational (career or job), spiritual levels, and beyond. For the sake of this blog post, I will simply begin to provide an overview of the meanings of this concept of the gifts of eating disorder recovery. So please come back to to focus more specifically on each of the mentioned areas of recovery.
In the early stages of recovery, you may only grasp the concept of recovery through the eyes and words of others.
It may seem almost impossible to even imagine that you can or even want to live without your eating disorder. But, one of the earliest gifts of eating disorder recovery comes from admitting that you may even be struggling with an eating disorder. This gift of eating disorder recovery is honesty. Once you think of getting help or actually seek help, you are gaining even more gifts of recovery. Some of these gifts include strength, a desire to live differently, hope (even if it is a glimpse), and more. Once you begin breaking free of rigid food rituals, or fighting your urges to binge or purge, or eating an unsafe food, you are connecting to more gifts of eating disorder recovery. I know that at the time, one may not view these experiences as a gift, but instead as a punishment, a struggle, or even horrifying. That is why is so important to have someone in your life who can help you see the successes. With that being said, some of the gifts of eating disorder recovery may include proving to yourself (even if it is for the moment) that you are capable and determined. That you are able to break free of the rigid rules of your eating disorder and practice flexibility. You may be beginning to feel better physically, whether it is having more energy or fewer stomach-aches. These are gifts of eating disorder recovery. You may be letting other people in your life and beginning to build trusting relationships. You may be coming back to life and believing that you deserve some of the joys that life has to offer.
The list goes on and on and is so personal for each individual. Please share some of yours or the gifts of other's eating disorder recovery. It is so important to reflect on the unique gifts that you have experienced through your own recovery and share with others to give hope to those who may still be living in the darkness of an eating disorder.
THE GIFTS OF RECOVERY ARE REMARKABLE, JUST DO THE WORK AND YOU WILL LIVE IT TOO.
If you or someone you know or love may be struggling with an eating disorder, please utilize the resources listed below to help find support and also check out our resource page. Also, purchase a copy of my book, EATING DISORDERS: Decode the Controlled Chaos, to learn more or to help educate others all about eating disorders.