Dear Fellow Strugglers, Sensitives, Misfits, Outsiders, Imperfect Humans who are actually quite beautiful in your fallibility,
This is a letter of gratitude for you.
Whether you’re in recovery from an eating disorder or addiction or if you struggle with mood issues or PTSD or a deeply embedded fear of abandonment that we call Borderline Personality Disorder — I am grateful for YOU.
I have held the honor of journeying with you as you embark on one of the bravest and most courageous acts of your life: Recovery.
I have been your therapist, your advocate, your holder of hope when you feel that there is none.
You often feel like you’re drowning and that you’re failing at recovery; you feel there’s just no point:
Why not give yourself over to that whirlpool of self-destruction and pain that’s trying its best to suck you under?
Why not just stay in bed with your head under the covers?
Why not just skip that meal… or eat until you feel so full that there’s no more room to feel anything else?
I know there are days when it’s easier to obsess over the shape of your body than to ruminate yet again on how much you hate yourself. But here is what you forget on those days:
You are brave.
You are strong.
You have a purpose.
You have a voice.
You are worthy of love.
You aren’t perfect, and you don’t have to be.
Don’t believe that voice that whispers that you are broken, that you will always be this way, that you will always feel this way, that it’s not OK to ask for help. That voice is trying to help you survive in the best way it knows how. But that voice is not wise, and it does not speak the truth.
Here’s the truth:
It takes so much strength and courage to be vulnerable and to ask for help when you are struggling — which is what you are doing every time you go to therapy or enter treatment.
In order to recover, you have to ask for help all the time. This makes you a warrior. You are doing the hard, emotional labor of creating a life that feels worth living to you. And, in this way, through the work of recovery — (learning who you are without an eating disorder, staying present with your emotions, taking up space, being direct and assertive, holding your boundaries, being vulnerable and truly connecting with others) you become a teacher.
Now I know that I’m the therapist, and I’m supposed to be full of all of this sage advice, and you probably look at me and think that I must be so put together. But watching you face your shadows and pain head on in therapy is such an amazing gift to me. As much as I am helping you in those moments, you are also helping me and teaching me, through your bravery in recovery, your commitment to doing the hard work of living a life that is in line with your values even on the days when you feel like giving up. I am in awe of you as a fellow human on this journey that we call life.
There are things and people and experiences in this world that make you feel alive. Yes, you may sometimes feel overly sensitive, or be consumed by worry and darkness, or be obsessing over what you ate today. You may feel like a misfit, or an outcast, or never good enough. But your struggle is your strength. Your recovery is a gift to yourself and to others. Thank you for allowing me the honor of getting to witness you in your recovery journey. I am so grateful to share the messiness of being human with you.
Join our ‘Recovery Letters’ campaign. Write a letter to who or what embodies the spirit of recovery for you; show others that recovery is possible – and that we can honor the big moments as well as the small ones along the way.
Share gratitude, let go of the past or unleash your creativity.
Write your own #MyRecoveryLetter at myrecoveryletter.com.