By: Anna, Renfrew NYC Alumna
Dedicated to Savannah, Lauren, Nailah, and Rebecca – I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.
From the moment I was contacted to write this post, I’ve been mulling over in my head, “What do I have to bring to the conversation on eating disorder recovery?” For those of you who know the traffic light exercise, since being discharged I’ve been bouncing back and forth between my green light and my yellow light (and a few days in the red). I really thought my forward momentum from treatment was going to last forever, but as I started a full-time job and moved into my own apartment, I’ve been facing similar stressors from when I was at the deepest point of my eating disorder. When I envision someone’s role model in recovery, I’m not the first person who comes to mind.
This is when my day treatment therapist’s voice enters my head, “Anna, give yourself some credit.” Acknowledging I have worth, I matter, and I deserve food, love, and a bunch of other good things, is not something I believed when I first started treatment. My ED voice constantly put me down and wanted to keep my self-worth as far out of reach as possible. While I’ve been facing daily challenges from my ED, my recovery voice has been unshakeable in my head, saying, “YOU MATTER!” even when I’m not willing to hear it.
In recovery I’ve had to do some hard, hard things. Recently I cut ties with a dietitian due to an extremely fatphobic and body shaming practice. I also ended a relationship with an individual therapist because I felt like I wasn’t being listened to. I was able to be honest with my providers and advocate for myself because my recovery has taught me I matter. I deserve better than that. I am worth it.
Believing this affirmation did not happen overnight. Every time I take a step towards recovery, even the tiniest step, I believe it more. I would like to reappraise my earlier statement that I don’t have to be someone else’s role model in recovery, but I can be my own role model in recovery.
No matter where you are in your recovery process, I want to know that you deserve a treatment or outpatient team that lifts you up, not tears you down. You deserve a support system that cares for you the way you want, not the way they think is best. You deserve every meal and snack (and even dessert!) every single day. You deserve your recovery. You are worth it.
Anna is an alumna of The Renfrew Center of New York City. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She loves to dance to Aretha Franklin in her kitchen with her cat Ross while using her brand new microwave.