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Recovery blog

Rediscovering My Values

By: Anna R., Renfrew Alumna

Posted on February 15, 2021

2.15.21 header imageAs we know, eating disorders thrive in isolation. I lived with an eating disorder for over ten years before I finally received the treatment and care I needed. During this time, I pulled away from my friends, family and values. I was blinded by my eating disorder and believed my life would always be controlled by anxiety and depression, and my eating disorder's values of thinness, perfection and productivity. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was simultaneously experiencing a multitude of life changes – marriage, leaving a toxic job, financial instability, and the inability to see my friends and family. I longed for familiarity, and eating disorder behaviors provided a strange sense of comfort. As anxiety and depression soared, so did the behaviors. Through the support of my therapist, I found the strength to finally share my struggles with my family and seek a higher level of care.

For years, I had managed my eating disorder alone, and for the first time, I felt seen and heard. Recovery truly began as I rediscovered my values of connection, community, freedom and authenticity. My eating disorder felt threatened, as I had been burying my emotions, wants and needs under the behaviors. Recovery is reliant on finding the strength to trust both yourself and those within your support system. Recovery is difficult, and it takes an incredible amount of patience and self-compassion, but it is so worth it.

You are so worth it. You deserve to be seen and heard. You deserve to see life in color.

You deserve to recover.

Anna R. is an alumna of The Renfrew Center of Chicago. She is a Florida native and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and dog. She has worked within the theatre and dance communities for over seven years as a performer, instructor and administrator. Though the arts will always hold a special place in her heart, she plans to begin graduate school in the fall to study Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Anna hopes to work with folks living with and recovering from eating disorders, as well as their caregivers. 
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