Thursday, February 17, 2011

Self-Reflection: remembering recovery

I used to try to forget that I have recovered from an eating disorder. It felt like it was something to be embarassed about,

as if having a history of mental illness makes me less of a person.

I have come to know that that kind of thinking is false. In fact, I think that the more people like me who have a history of mental illness, speak up about their past, the less tabboo the subject will be. I would love it if sharing my story with eating disorders would help even one person.

My history made me the person that I am today. It made me stronger.
It is definately not easy for me to talk about. Especially since I have tried to suppress those memories. But, I know that many of the coping skills that I learned in recovery are still relevent practices today. One of those things that I learned is the power of affirmations.
I found something that I made in recovery that I'd like to share with you. There was a lot of free time there, and the counselors would have "arts and crafts" time for us, almost all of them specifically recovery-focused. Here is "My Little Box of Affirmations".

I decorated it myself, in colors that make me happy. Inside are lots of tiny colorful cards. On each one is an affirmation.

This one says, "I can cope with change without turning to or away from food." That still speaks to me, even though I've been recovered for years now.
I'm not sure if my fixation of food will ever be completely gone, but I'm glad to report that I no longer have an obsession. I have switched the focus to eating healthier for the sake of health, which is HUGE for me.

This was folded up inside. I remember that when I wrote this, I didn't actually believe any of the affirmations that I wrote down. Today, everything that I wrote down on this piece of paper, I believe 100%. Which brings me so much joy. For anyone reading this who has recovered from an eating disorder, you know what a big deal this is. Here is what that piece of paper says:
I am not tiny. I am not big. I am thin, but not skinny. And that's okay.
I am Leah; I am more than just my body.
I am creative and innovative. I am helpful and kind.
My skills can be put to good use to benefit myself and others.
I am both loving and loveable.
I am deserving of all the love I recieve, and accept it with gratitude.
I am an overall good person with a lot to contribute to the world.
People should love me for who I am, not what I look like.
I am naturally beautiful when I am myself.
I am fun to be with.
I don't need everyone's approval about every decision I make.
The amount of food I eat or exercise I do does not make or break my day.
I can eat or exercise any amount and still be satisfied with my day.
Thanks for reading. I'm so happy that I was able to share this with all of you!


Amanda said...

Thank you for sharing something so personal. I think you are right that if people open up about these issues then others wouldn't have to be afraid to come forward and maybe there would be more help and acceptance out there.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing!! You're doing so well! I know these words can help others! And they certainly encouraged me. :)

Rae said...

Thanks for sharing on a not so easy subject. I can relate to a lot of what you are saying since I also had an eating disorder during my teen years. Still working on some of it and I guess always will be. Recovery seems to be a life long process. Congrats to you for coming so far.

Lindsey said...

What a beautiful entry! You are a strong and beautiful woman, regardless of weight or size. Think about how far you've come to finally believe your affirmations. I'm so happy for you!!!