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⚠️Trigger Warning: eating disorders
When I was sick with my eating disorder, I thought it would never end. I didn’t see a way out of the chaos in my head.
Eating disorders are hard to be in and hard to climb out of.
I knew that once I recovered from my eating disorder, I wanted to help other people who were recovering.
I didn’t want others to feel the loneliness that I did when I was struggling. I didn’t know how to do that or if it was even possible.
Through some online searching, I discovered mentoring. I knew that everything I had gone through could help me provide support and empathy for people working on their own recovery.
I thought that mentoring would help give me some purpose for the struggles I had gone through, but I had no idea how powerful the experience would actually be. Mentoring not only provides support for others but strengthens my recovery.
What I Gained from Being an Eating Disorder Recovery Mentor
Through eating disorder recovery mentoring, I have gained a community of like-minded people.
I meet monthly with a supervisor and a team of other mentors. We share experiences and offer suggestions to each other.
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Through my years of being unwell with an eating disorder, I never knew other people who also had eating disorders. It’s comforting to meet with other people who understand what it’s like to have survived an eating disorder.
Mentoring has also given me a greater sense of empathy for others.
The greatest gift of it is that I can watch my mentees exhale when I tell them that I understand what they’re going through. I haven’t just read about or studied eating disorders; I have lived through mine.
My experiences can make them feel less alone.
The conversations I have while mentoring help me feel less alone.
When I was sick, I had no idea that other people struggled with similar thoughts or behaviours. It has given me a sense of peace that I am not the only person to ever go through what I went through.
I’ve also been given the gift of self-compassion.
When I was sick, I was incredibly critical of myself. I had a constant maelstrom of negative thoughts going through my mind. I didn’t realize at the time that what I was experiencing were typical eating disorder thoughts.
I know now that what I was going through was not my fault, and I can look back at the person I was with grace.
Recovery mentoring has allowed me to forgive myself for things I did when I was unwell.
Seeing someone else going through similar things has helped me to view my own struggles differently. It has allowed me to separate my true self from the eating disorder voice that controlled me for so long.
I feel incredibly honoured to be trusted with my mentees’ thoughts and struggles. I have been allowed into their lives at a time when they may have shut many other people out. When my mentees thank me for being accepting and non-judgemental, it reminds me why I spend my time doing this.
I want people to know that they are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with them because of their struggles.
While I am not a professional in the eating disorder world, supporting others through mentoring allows me to pay forward the kindness and understanding that I was shown during my time in active recovery.
I use one of the most difficult times of my life to help others.
While mentoring does not take away the pain of having gone through an eating disorder, it gives me meaning and purpose to a very dark time in my life.
I feel grateful for the opportunity to use my past challenges to support others in finding a brighter future.
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Amy is a full time mom and former teacher living in Massachusetts. She enjoys reading, running and playing with her kids. She strives to use her story of recovery to help others suffering with eating disorders.
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