An Important Lesson Recovery Has Taught Me

©2016 defectivebarbie

A sentiment that was repeated to me again and again while I battled anorexia was the phrase “life is messy”. I thought once I became recovered, that would no longer be the case, that things would just be easier because I would no longer have to muddle through disordered thoughts to finally reach a conclusion with guidance from friends and family.

At 23 years old, I have just moved cross-country for a job, to a town where I don’t know anyone, and I realize how consistently messy things can be. My thoughts are clear, but my emotions are not. At times, I feel lost, as though I may not have made the right decision to move.

Although the things I am feeling are not what I had expected, or what I want to be feeling when I’m so far from home and trying to make new friends, I feel extremely grateful.

Without the tools I learned in recovery, I doubt I would be able to embrace the emotions I’m feeling. When someone lives with an eating disorder, it is much easier to numb oneself from these emotions by using disordered behavior and continue as if everything was normal. But now, rather than suffering in silence, something my eating disorder always encouraged me to do, I reach out to my supports. I know I can trust my friends and family to listen, and although they may not have answers for me, just having someone to voice my doubts helps me to remain grounded. I know my loved ones do not have the answers for me, but knowing that I have their support encourages me to keep moving forward.


Recovery has also taught me to be much more intuitive and flexible in new circumstances. When physical symptoms of anxiety or those “gut instincts” crop up, I know how to listen. The universe is always giving us signs, moving us towards our end goal.

In retrospect, I have ignored those gut instincts, thinking it was just nerves, or wrote them off entirely. What I now know is that the world wants you to see what is right for your own personal journey, but one has to recognize those signs as they come.

I know the future is unpredictable, but recovery has taught me to be fearless in ways I didn’t think were possible. To be recovered has allowed me to search the world for my personal journey, and although I may not know where I’m going or what steps I need to take next, I know that I am able to continue on in a healthy, fulfilling life using the tools that have led me to recovery.

Artwork by ©2016 defectivebarbie

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