I know that many of you struggle with Ed thoughout this time of the year. (I know this, because you have sent lots of messages to me about it recently.) As my gift to you this holiday season, over the next week or so, I will share stories of inspiration from others --- to lift you up and to renew your faith that recovery really is possible. I have heard many people say, "Well, Jenni, I know that you are recovered. But you are the only person I know who did get better from an eating disorder." Many of you have asked me, "Does anyone else get better?" The answer is a big YES! I will start by sharing Meg's story.
Here is Meg Burton's message of hope for you:
One thing that use to make me want to cry was the saying, "It gets better". I could see that for other people it did get better, but I didn't understand. I felt like they forgot the pain of what it's like to be so isolated from everything and everyone when you're in your eating disorder. It was like there was a secret to getting to the place of fully recovered that people just simply weren't telling me about. There had to be something I was missing.
My parents divorced when I was one. My whole life, my father has lived on the other side of the world while I grew up with an alcoholic mother and a loving but confused stepdad who desperately attempted to keep everything together. This is where my eating disorder came in - when I took on the role of trying to keep everything together. At the end of my freshman year of high school I finally asked for help. After spending years lying not only to my treatment team, but to myself, I finally hit my rock bottom. I realized I could either try out this whole recovery business for a little bit or keep staying sick and map out exactly what would happen.
Things began to fall into place. I read Life Without Ed which kickstarted my recovery and became my bible. I found a mentor. I started to volunteer with a non profit organization and went into schools trying to prevent and raise awareness about eating disorders. I couldn't be followings Ed's orders while standing up in front of a group of students telling them to love their bodies if I wasn't trying to love mine, so it really gave me some accountability to commit to my health.
The cool thing about not doing behaviors is that so much life happens! Think about it - you can waste a month to purging or restricting in the blink of an eye. However, think about not purging or not restricting for a month and how much progress and how much life you actually live in that month! Things begin to happen. You find yourself getting excited to go out and be social, having a sleepover with girlfriends and driving to In N' Out at midnight and laughing instead of planning where you can go purge. Eventually, you even find yourself liking your body!!!
I'm not recovered yet, but each of these things continue to push me when I don't have hope. I want to be Ed free one day. I still feel like crying now when people say, "It gets better", but I want to cry because I have so much gratitude that it really DOES get better. I really am slowly, but surely, getting better. You have to grab on to whatever gives you hope and have faith that you will get to the place of recovered too. I'm right on that path with you. - Meg Burton