Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Recovery Team” (By: Kristin F.)

I am coming up (in Kristin FOctober) on three years since I began my recovery from bulimia. It has been a wild ride, full of a rollercoaster of emotions, beginning with desperation, leading to depression, to loneliness, to sadness, grief, hurt and pain, then suddenly, glimpses of happiness appear out of nowhere, and a seed of hope is planted for the future. Without even realizing that the change happened, there seemed to be more ups than downs, and the initial terror of what a life in recovery looked like had dissipated. I attribute much of this, first and foremost, to God, as I was gratefully brought to Nashville for a reason, where the recovery community is so strong and present. Secondly, I attribute much of the success in recovery that I have experienced to my recovery team. When I first began this journey, I had no idea how to ask for help. I was usually the person that was offering to help others, in order to distract from my own need for help. However, I quickly learned that in recovery, asking for help is VITAL to battling ED.

Those of us who have been through/or are in recovery know that it can look different for anyone. For me, I did outpatient recovery, going to twice weekly therapy sessions, coupled with seeing a nutritionist and a doctor weekly/every couple of weeks. I went to recovery groups at least once a week for two years. I was exposed for the first time in my life, with all of my bruises on the outside instead of in. I learned that exposure isn’t so bad, in fact, talking about it is the absolute best way to fight an eating disorder. I learned about self-care, past issues that I had never dealt with, tendencies that were destructive, and about loving who God had made me to be. I also learned that without this team around me, I would be lost. This became my Nashville recovery family. With no real family in town, I relied on the weekly commitments with my recovery team to provide an accountability and much needed structure to my life. I learned how important it is for me to be known and understood by others. I learned what it means to understand(ish) myself.

Now that I am no longer in the depths of recovery, but learning to live on my own, on my own implying weekly therapy :), I have gotten out of the routine of talking in groups about my destructive thoughts, my weakness for ED, my susceptibility to the darkness of our world. I am fully transparent with my family and friends when I am struggling, so hiding is no longer a part of my everyday, but I still feel like I am in this ‘in-between recovery and really knowing how to live life on my own’ phase. I know that I can, and am, doing it, but I miss, in a weird way, recovery being at the center of my life.

I was reminded of why when I went to see my doctor the other day. She had been a part of my team from the beginning, knowing my story, helping me, talking through body responses to long-term bulimia, and just being there for me as a friend. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months and was feeling low that morning. When I started talking to her, she reminded me of where I had come from, and how I had already lived many lives within my one. I was reminded of what it felt like to be KNOWN, understood, and told it was OK to hurt. I was reminded how important it was for me to have a doctor that was sensitive to ED and the physical AND psychological effects of him. I was reminded that the relationships I had developed with my outpatient treatment team were so solid and good, life long, and most importantly, always there when I needed them. I was reminded that I was being taken care of, and to ask for help when I felt alone in my pain. So I guess I will never really live life on my own, but I don’t think I am supposed to. I think that I was forced to learn how to be vulnerable so that I realized life isn’t about being strong by yourself, but holding the hands of people who love you.

Precious jewel, you glow, you shine, reflecting all the good things in the world.

-Maya Angelou

About the Author

Kristin is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Nashville, TN for the past three years and now calls it home. Upon going to college in Virginia, Kristin fell victim to bulimia and struggled with her eating disorder for six years. Two years ago, she confessed to her family (who were unaware of her struggle), that she needed help. Through outpatient treatment, under the care of her beloved therapist, caring nutritionist, compassionate doctor, and countless support groups through EDCT, Kristin was able to overcome her bulimia and find peace in her recovery. The openness and vulnerability that Kristin experienced within the support groups allowed her to relate with others and overcome the intense loneliness that was a result of her eating disorder. She is extremely sensitive to these issues, as she knows ED is always lingering around the corner. She hopes that her story of finally standing up to ED can help others. Lastly, Kristin has found that animals are a wonderful vehicle in recovery, as they allow for unconditional love, no matter your size. She recently adopted a pug named Rora who brings her great joy.