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“Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
On rough days, I find myself lamenting the eleven years of my life that I feel like my eating disorder stole from me, and on those days I recite these words. In order to move forward and grow as a person, I need to let go of the resentment and regrets I have about my past and focus instead on staying in the present and looking toward my future.
The reason I choose to share my story is that I decided a long time ago all of the pain I went through would be worth it if someday I could make a difference by helping people with similar struggles.
While I cannot go back and change my experience, I hope by opening up about what I have gone through, others can find strength in knowing they are not alone.
I also hope I can change the way people think about eating disorders – I want to bust myths and disprove stereotypes and show the world eating disorders are not simply a shallow problem.
Most of all, I want to show people that progress in recovery is possible.
Choosing to share my story was not an easy decision, and after several years of being open about my eating disorder, it is still not easy. I recently completed my undergraduate degree in psychology and I am now working as a residential counselor. As someone who is just entering the field of psychology, I feel a lot of pressure to be “the epitome of mental health and stability,” because as we all know, you can’t help others unless you help yourself first.
I want credibility in my field; I want people to respect my genuine interest in psychology and not assume I am just trying to solve my own problems. Whenever I mention to people who know about my eating disorder what I am doing for work, I worry about their judgement.
These worries about not being healthy enough to go into clinical psychology and what other people will think of my career path led me to almost give up on my career aspirations altogether. For years I swore I would be a researcher, but never a counselor.
Luckily, recovery has taught me perfectionism is not a sustainable way of life.
I can be imperfect and have my own struggles while still being an excellent support for other people. In fact, knowing how it feels to struggle gives me empathy and insight that goes far beyond what you can learn in a psychology course or by reading a textbook. I remind myself of this when I start to feel insecure about my ability to thrive in a helping profession.
Eating disorders thrive in secrecy, lies, and shame, so sharing your story can be an important step towards healing.
You by no means have to share it with cyberspace like I did, but I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and share as much as you feel comfortable with about what you have gone through.
It is so important to not feel alone in this struggle, and you could help someone else by having the courage to open up.
Share your story
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.