We wanted to share a letter we received from a former volunter at our day program, The Eating Disorder Center of California. Her words inspire thought about what it means to recover. Instead of just talking about what someone is recovering from, we often talk to our clients about what they are recovering to. This idea that we can transcend our former selves provides a greater sense of hopefulness and opportunity. How exciting to consider becoming who we are meant to be!
My name is Lindsay Gooze and I am recovered from my eating disorder. I am a graduating senior at UCLA in Women's Studies and I will be entering into an MFT program this fall.
I think your idea that full recovery is possible is phenomenal, and my personal experience supports the idea. However, I have come to believe that although "recovered" is a stronger term than "recovery," it is too weak a word to describe the personal growth that myself and others have experienced after their eating disorder.
I believe that the silver lining, so to speak, of eating disorders is that not only are they protective during stressful life situations, but that the recovery process also enables a great deal of self-exploration and personal growth. This is why I believe that while being "recovered" implies that someone is back to who they were prior to the eating disorder, it does not capture the true potential for self-fulfillment that being recovered allows. I believe that you can completely transcend your eating disorder and instead of returning to the person you were before your eating disorder, you can become the person you were meant to be. Therefore, eating disorder recovery is not just a process of regaining who you once were but transcending adversity and growing past old beliefs about what you are capable of and what you deserve.