I feel very grateful that one of my clients was willing to write about their recovery journey and share it on my blog. I hope her story inspires you to begin or continue on your own path to recovery.
“I’ve had very mixed feelings about my eating disorder. It has ranged from making me feel powerful to completely hopeless and desperate. At one point, I remember being terrified of how I could continue living my life with such a huge burden, and I wasn’t sure if I could.
It was my drug and I was so addicted. It would lift me up so high and make me feel special, and then it could drop me so low and make me feel powerless and alone. I wasn’t sure if I would have the strength to rise above it. Especially because I wouldn’t admit it to anyone. Looking back I should have asked for help much earlier, but I didn’t want anyone to take it away from me.
During my college years, I found some sort of way to cope in a healthier way and was able to live normally with it. But the eating disorder was always in the background of everything I did. It was this annoying nagging force that would drive me to do things I didn’t want to do. I had to run every morning and never eat more than one sweet thing a day. And if I did, I could barely deal with all the torment and mean things the eating disorder would scream at me. I’d be running double the time the next day and barely eating anything.
This whole cycle wasn’t sustainable, and on top of having a job I hated after college and living in a new city I did not like, my life was miserable. I felt that if this was how the rest of my life was going to be, I didn’t want it. Everything seemed so bleak, dark, and unhopeful. My demons seemed bigger than me and just the thought of waking up another day and living the same life seemed unbearable.
Things were messed up and I knew something had to change. But I didn’t know where to begin. I had seen a few therapists in the past and none of them really understood or helped at all. I felt like they were pointless, didn’t get me, and were wasting my parent’s money.
At this point, my mom intervened and told me that I needed to give therapy one more shot because I could not handle this problem alone. I needed to believe and have faith that this time it could be different. I was extremely skeptical but agreed to go to a therapist that she had found that she thought was the right fit for me.
That was when I started seeing Shrein and things slowly began to shift. It was very hard at first because I was still so wrapped up in the eating disorder and would get angry with Shrein. She wanted me to do things that I definitely did not want to do and would disagree with things that I thought were very important. But she started breaking through to me and kindly helping me untangle from the eating disorder. She would keep reminding me of the importance of the work we were doing and would gently keep me on the right path. It was definitely hard but amazing change did take place and I would not be so close to recovery and living the life I live now, if I had not continued on this path.
I am not fully recovered and my eating disorder still affects me sometimes, but it doesn’t control me at all. I am much better and I am so much happier. I am working on my body image and on creating a healthy relationship with food where I really listen to what my body wants and eat until I am satisfied. Shrein has also helped me realize that I need to find a different way to live my life and find happiness and fulfillment. Happiness and love need to be cultivated inside of yourself and you won’t find it in external things.
What I have found is that I need something that gives me internal fortitude. Life throws so many hard things at you all the time, that I needed something that made me strong inside to deal with all of this. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong. And that would only come from doing internal work and I am so lucky that I have realized this and am now on the right path.”