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A few months ago I was experiencing a low point in my recovery, and I was able to pretend that I was okay in front of almost everyone. This included my loved ones, and even my therapist and dietitian. The few people who saw through my façade were the people in my eating disorder support group. The members of my group therapy can see through all of the lies and secrets of an eating disorder because they have told the same lies and kept the same secrets.
It is priceless to have people in your life that can encourage you to persevere in recovery without coming across as judgmental or dismissive of your pain.
If someone from group tells me they know I can fight my eating disorder, I know they are saying it with empathy and the knowledge of how hard recovery is. I am able to take their words to heart.
Giving support to other group members is equally effective as receiving support. When you are providing support and reality checks to group members who are beating themselves up or in denial about the severity of their symptoms, it is reminder to develop self-compassion and accountability to yourself. I cannot in good faith give a group member advice on perseverance in recovery without at least trying to take my own advice.
What I find most valuable about Group Therapy is that it allows me to minimize the impact that my eating disorder has on my interpersonal relationships.
Before I started support group I lost a lot of friends, because I was looking for advice and understanding from people who were not capable of giving the kind of support I was looking for.
Today I talk to my friends, family, and girlfriend about my recovery when I am not in treatment and need someone to listen, but it would be inappropriate and damaging to make my recovery the topic of every conversation. It is their role to provide me with unconditional love, but not necessarily advice they are not qualified to give.
My support group reminds me I am not alone in my struggle and I don’t have to feel isolated amidst my pain or triumphs.
I can share my pain with my loved ones and they will always have compassion, but they cannot necessarily empathize.
Similarly, I can share with the members of my Group my recovery triumphs and they understand how truly remarkable it is to eat “normally.” Someone who has never had an eating disorder can take my word for it that eating a piece of cake without panicking is a cause for celebration, but they cannot necessarily relate.
Group allows me to acknowledge the eating disorder part of myself without letting it consume other aspects of my life.
For the first time, I can spend time with my loved ones and be just Jess, instead of “Jess the eating disordered person.”
I am stronger in recovery because of my support group. If you feel like there is something missing in your recovery, I would recommend giving a support group a chance.
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Jessica has a B.A. in Psychology and Women's Studies and is pursuing a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. She is passionate about social justice and hopes to make a difference in the lives of others and advocate for social change. Having recovered from an eating disorder, Jessica is committed to spreading the word that freedom from eating disorders is possible. Through her writing at Libero, Jessica hopes to empower those struggling with eating disorders to fight for the health and happiness that they deserve.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.