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Recovery blog

A Letter To You

By: Tori, Alumna, The Renfrew Center of Radnor

Posted on September 16, 2019

This letter is to you. The you who may be struggling right now. The you who's maybe had a rough day, terrible week, or even a little relapse. The you who doesn't know how much longer you can hold on. The you who wants to call it quits. To you.

You make this world a little bit more wonderful. You have so much potential and so many things left to do and experience. Please hang in there. You have survived so much already, and I want you to know whatever you are feeling and however loud ED is hissing in your ear right now - it will pass. Remember that time you wanted to give up on life, but instead built up the courage to get help at Renfrew instead? How about when you broke both your legs and still managed to get around school in a wheelchair every day? Or even when you cried weekly about physics and spent 12 hours on homework every weekend, but did amazing on your test? The incredible thing is the strength that got you through each of these struggles lies within you right now. Feel confident in the fact you can always count on yourself no matter what you may be facing. You are so much bigger than your demons, and you have proven this time and time again.

It's time to show up for yourself. This doesn't mean starting fresh tomorrow or next week - it means right now. A fresh start is a new mindset, so recommit. Even if you can't see it right now, you have made and are making so much progress. It may be hard today, but easy tomorrow, and hard the next day, and that's okay. Meet yourself where you are because you cannot expect yourself to be the same every day.

Maybe you've pulled out this letter because you're struggling with body image. Maybe you woke up today, looked in the mirror, and felt like you hated yourself. You already know this, but I'm here to give you a firm reminder you are so much more than your body or the number on the scale. Let that sink in; I truly mean it. Think about all of the times you've made eye contact with someone and shared a true smile. Think about all of the times you've cried laughing. Think about all of the wonderful places in the world you have had the privilege of visiting. Remember all of the people who have been lucky enough to have you in their lives. You owe it to yourself to recognize you are more than your appearance. You get to choose your own worth. Be someone who is remembered for their contagious laugh, bright smile, and heartwarming compassion. How you make others feel when you are around them is what makes you truly attractive, not what you look like. You are either as ugly or beautiful as you believe you are. You define your own beauty. That is not a power anyone has over you.

It's okay to be the only one proud of you right now. In the past you had a ridiculously supportive treatment team who was cheering you on every step of the way. People were constantly there to congratulate you for having a successful weekend or making progress in recovery. Just because your progress or struggles have gone unnoticed lately doesn't invalidate them. What you do when no one is watching shows who you truly are. Are you going to show up for yourself today?

It's ok to not do everything perfectly. You are not perfect, and nobody is. Actually, your imperfections are what make you so relatable so don't try to hide them from others. It's okay not to do it all. Being your messy, authentic, imperfect self creates the space for others to be themselves too. Maybe you've screwed up, let yourself slip into old behaviors, haven't been caring for yourself, or are just feel totally down in the dumps. It doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you human so welcome to the club, there's like 7 billion of us. It's not about being perfect, it's about your effort and bringing that effort each day is how growth happens. Be proud of how hard you're trying. List as many things as you can of why you're proud of yourself in this very moment. List as many things as you can to be grateful for.

I'm writing this letter to tell you not only is freedom from your eating disorder totally possible for you, but that it is incredibly worth it. Maybe you've hit a bump in the road, but that's normal. Sometimes recovery is two steps forward, one step back, jump to the left, spin 270 degrees, and just when you think you've got your footing again, it flips you upside down. The moment you feel like quitting is the exact moment you need to keep pushing. I have full confidence in you. As I write this letter, I am crossing uncharted territory in recovery. My time at Renfrew is coming to an end, and I've never been doing better. I allowed myself to have ice cream last night and I stopped when I was satisfied. I went to the beach for a week and maintained my weight. I went on a run this morning and came home when I wanted to. I feel absolutely on top of the world and like I can trust myself again. No matter what you are experiencing right now, this feeling is totally possible for you again. I am not saying this to make you long for the day you felt this way or for you to hate on yourself for not being in this place right now. I just want you to visualize in full detail what it would be like to feel this way again. I want you to recognize you've experienced a great high point in your recovery filled with overwhelming happiness and pride, and you can experience it again. Separate yourself from ED so you can be present in your experience of the spontaneous, unpredictable, intimate nature of life. Life is a party. You've got this and I know you do.

The you who has got your own back

P.S. You can! ;)
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