Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Seeing Beauty” (By: Peggy Miller)

A few months into my recovery journey, I was struggling with relapse urges and talking to my therapist about them. I (really my eating disorder) was arguing with her that I hated myself too much and wanted to just starve and still keep living my life but not worry about myself. My therapist said something about my eating disorder that I will never forget: “Your eating disorder blinds you not only to the beauty in yourself, but also to the beauty in the world and in the people around you. You can’t have a full life when your eating disorder is consuming your life- you have to choose one or the other.”

Honestly, I didn’t totally understand what she was saying when she told me this, but I did understand the fact that I can’t really live if I am actively trying to kill myself. I struggled to see how an eating disorder saps all beauty from my life, though, since it was all that I had known for so long.

However, many months later and at a much more stable place in recovery, I can see so much truth in this statement. In fact, for me, the last few months have been filled with moments when I am simply in awe at the beauty of the world around me.

Sunsets, clouds, mountains, trees and long drives on a sunny afternoon are beautiful to me.  The smiles of people, hugs, laughter, and the silliness of a child are absolutely beautiful. There are so many moments when I will see something and just filled with complete joy at the beauty of it.

In my eating disorder, everything felt gray and foggy. My life was consumed by self-hatred, obsessive thoughts about food and my body, and exhaustion from malnourishment. Even though I still struggle to see the beauty in myself, I can see so much beauty in life that my eating disorder never let me see. I can do SO many things that my eating disorder took from me. I can share a meal of chicken nuggets with the kids I am babysitting for. I can hug my friend when she is hurting without fear of her being disgusted by my body. I can sit in class and focus on what I am learning. I can sleep in late or stay up late and eat an extra snack when I am hungry at 1 AM.

So, if you are considering recovery, please remember that your eating disorder is not going to give you a beautiful life. Whether you fully understand it or not, you have a choice- life or a slow death. And, if you have been in recovery a while or are maybe even recovered, do not forget what a beautiful blessing this life is. Don’t be so consumed in your own life that you don’t take the time to sit back and realize what a blessing this life is and how amazingly beautiful the sky is each and every day.

And one day, I hope that you and I can both see the beauty in ourselves, too. Even if it’s not today that we can, I hope that you and I both remember that our bodies and our souls are a part of this beautiful word that we live in.

About the Author

Peggy is a college student in Nashville, Tennessee, and hopes to one day become a therapist for eating disorders. She has struggled with some kind of mental illness for most of her life, and has struggled with anorexia for several years before choosing life and recovery by deciding to get treatment. She is passionate about recovery, and hopes to one day get to help a client find the freedom and hope that her treatment professionals helped her find. Peggy absolutely loves people, deep conversations, coffee, and most of all, Jesus. She aspires to show each and every person she meets that they are loved and worth immeasurably more than they can imagine.