Sharing our eating disorder recovery stories « Eating Disorders Explained

While there are many eating disorder survivors who are willing – even eager – to share their stories through public speaking, books, and websites, there are still an equal or greater number who are reluctant or scared. Quite often, if simple desire for privacy isn’t the reason, then the reluctance boils down to societal shame and stigma that remains for those who have suffered from a poorly understood illness such as an eating disorder. As this reader will likely discover in time, under the appropriate circumstances and at a time in our own recovery when we are ready, it can be extremely empowering to share our stories and honor ourselves for our courageous battle to freedom.

Q:How can you be so courageous and talk to the public about your eating disorder?

A: I had a hard time at first. I would write songs about my recovery and ‘talk’ that way, but I wasn’t willing to open up and share my story because I was afraid I would be rejected, pitied, or shamed for doing so. But then I met a girl who had gone to inpatient treatment and she was so open about sharing her story, and I saw how much strength it gave her to own what she had been through and honor her own courage by sharing what she had learned with others. She was the one who convinced me to start speaking in public about my recovery.

The biggest gift “going public” with my story has given me is newfound self-respect. I honor myself for being willing to do the incredibly hard work to recover, and I remind myself that I am worth recovering for! I also remember how alone I felt when I was sick and had no one to talk to. I never want anyone to feel that alone – EVER! Every time I speak about my recovery story I feel more empowered to stay strong, to help others as well, and to be a voice for change and awareness. So it is not hard for me to speak in public – it is a great joy and a gift, and I feel grateful to have the chance to raise awareness so people who need help know they are not alone.

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