The month of February, albeit the shortest month seems to be the fullest month. It’s black history month, and then there’s Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. But for me personally, one week of February will always and forever stand out: NEDA Awareness Week – National Eating Disorder Awareness.
I don’t address the fact that I’m recovered very often. It was and remains a very personal journey. But I can say one thing for sure; I would not be the person I am today without having gone on that journey. I started my journey in college and after several years of struggling, I can say that I’ve been recovered for three years. This year I wanted to share some of the thoughts and insights that have made recovery and maintaining recovery possible for me.
Keara Hozella, my co-author on this graphic is a truly amazing human. We met while getting treatment for our eating disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Eating Disorder Program. Making friends within a program is tricky business and honestly, I advise against trying to make friends with the people you meet there. Everyone is at a different place in their recovery. Even the best intentions from someone can send you straight towards a relapse. Keara and I have always had a mutual respect for each other’s recovery paths. It’s this respect that made our friendship possible. We’ve supported each other, but have also backed off when needed. This understanding has led to almost five years of beautiful friendship. Keara and I had been discussing the idea of putting our recovery into words for a few months. She has been writing about her disorder for sometime now and has inspired me through every step of my journey.
Recovery is a Journey
Recovery from an eating disorder is a journey from possibly the darkest place you’ve been in and back to the light and life. Your recovery is as every bit important as the next individual’s. You deserve all the happiness that the world has to offer. Sometimes you’ll feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re moving backwards, and sometimes, you’ll feel like it will never end. But know this: It gets better and easier as time moves on. Here are some insights from two individuals in recovery that will hopefully help you along the way:
- Recovery begins with a choice. You have to choose recovery and want it for yourself. Don’t make anyone else the thing on which your recover hinges.
- You have to be fully nourished before your brain can even process all the steps recovery will take
- Being open about your experience can be helpful. But don’t push yourself if you’re not ready. It’s okay if you’re never ready.
- Relapses will happen. Forgive yourself and try again.
- Let go of the ‘Shoulds.’ Recovery happens many different ways. There is not straight path
- Take all the selfies because you are beautiful
- Body positivity is a wonderful thing and if you can’t get there, body tolerance is also a beautiful thing
- Everyday you have a choice. Choose recovery. Choose freedom. You’re worth it.
Early intervention is crucial with eating disorders. If you, or anyone you know may be showing signs of disordered eating or thinking reach out and say something. You can take a free and confidential assessment here. 3 Minutes can Save a Life! Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy.
More About the Author
Cassie is a twenty-something lover of all things art and design, holder of a passion for puppies, and wanderer of the great outdoors. She grew up north of Philly and found herself in Central PA for college where she discovered her love for color and design. She resides in Alexandria, Va with her girlfriend and adorable border collie dalmatian puppy. She works as a designer for a local web design group.