Episode 11 - Special #MyRecoveryLetter Episode: Celebrating Eating Recovery Day
On this special episode, we listen to you in celebration of Eating Recovery Day on May 1st! The responses we got from your gratitude letters were simply too good not to share and we wanted to present them back to you, allowing their power to speak for themselves. You are truly incredible, and we love being part of the recovery community.
Also, if you would still like to join in the #myrecoveryletter project, simply go to myrecoveryletter.com and follow the prompts.
Ellie Pike: You know that feeling that you get when opening up a letter or maybe even when you take the time to write one yourself-
Speaker 2: Dear daughter.
Speaker 3: Thank you, Faith.
Speaker 4: Hey, son.
Caitlyn Lee: Dear nature the nurture.
Mika: Dear fellow strugglers.
Speaker 5: Dear, Lindsey.
Speaker 6: Dear therapist.
Cara: Dear son.
Ellie Pike: -is the simplest thing, but it communicates so much intention and care. A few weeks [00:00:30] back, I asked you to write a letter of gratitude to either yourself or anybody anything or any idea that has propelled you down life's path as part of our celebration of Eating Recovery Day on May 1st. A day dedicated to removing stigma, raising awareness, and inspiring hope for recovery and wow, you really came through.
Also, if you didn't write a letter yet, stay tuned until the end where I'll give you directions on how to join in on the #myrecoveryletter campaign. [00:01:00] These responses were so good I wanted to share them with you. Today's episode will invite us all to indulge in some gratitude for ourselves, for our friends, for our lives. You're listening to Mental Note podcast. I'm Ellie Pike.
Speaker 1: Please leave your message after the tone.
Speaker 2: [00:01:30] Dear daughter, I wish you could see what others see when they look at you. The goodness, the kindness, the compassion. The way you reach out to those in need to let them know they aren't alone. You are a light to all you meet and a beacon of hope and happiness in this world. Always remember that the tools needed to make change lie within you.
You are strong and brave, yet humble enough to endure your struggles with patience. You have walked a road that not many your age have walked. You've had to learn lessons that [00:02:00] many twice your age are still learning. I've watched you struggle then come out conqueror and fall only to get back up running. I pray that your tenacity and endurance will see you through all life throws your way. Thank you for being you because being you is more than enough. Love, Mom.
Speaker 3: Thank you, Faith, for helping me believe that life gets better and making sure I was there to see it.
Speaker 4: [00:02:30] Hey, son. Mom and I are so proud of all the hard work you're doing at recovery and living a full life as a high school junior. This is your first full year of school without a relapse and a return to treatment. I know you tell us how incredible it is to be back at your school in your life and living without your eating disorder. I can see the sparkle in your eyes having fun times with your friends and hear the laughter in your voice. I can see that you are truly choosing your life values over [00:03:00] your eating disorder.
I do though constantly worry when the eating disorder should try really hard to regain its control over your life. Will you reach out for support and communicate with us and your outpatient team? I know you are aware that we can see when a meal or portion may prompt to eating a sort of thought or behavior, you let us know every time, but it's that family support that you don't fight anymore and you let us in to help at those moments which are becoming less and less.
As you start your college search with an ambition to attend an out-of-state University, I worry about those little moments when a thought pops back up. As you know a therapist will be in your local reach but your family will not be with you at meals while you are at college. When a, "Hey, don't forget your eating disorder is still here and ready for you anytime you want," type a message. I want you to always remember not only your skills but how [00:04:00] incredible your eyes sparkle, how much fun you have with your friends, and how beautiful you laugh. Your life is yours, you have it, hold on to it as you enter the world as an incredible young adult in recovery. Love you, Dad.
Caitlyn Lee: Dear nature the nurture, I am so grateful to be writing this letter [00:04:30] to you, nature. It is because of you that I am alive and recovering. You have always been there and I am in awe of your profound ability to hold space and listen. To be so present, so gentle, so nurturing, and so loving. You have reminded me of the very thing I had once forgotten, love. I once dreamt of the day I would find the love of my life, but it is you who reminded me that I am in fact the love of my life. I am the love I was once yearning for and that love is the very essence of our being.
[00:05:00] Thank you nature for your unconditional love, support, and stability throughout my recovery. Thank you for loving me when I didn't know how to. With you, all the numbers become an illusion and seem to disappear. All that matters is love. You have guided me, inspired me, held space for me to heal and transform, love me, and reflected back all the beauty that is inherent within and without.
You have reminded me of this one beautiful precious life we had to live and how life is one magical [00:05:30] gift. You have held me in my darkest moments when my heart was filled with hate and resentment and allowed me to shine as bright as the stars. I've completely come undone in your presence and felt the divine radiating through me.
I used to say I feel more and more connected to my body in life because of you. It is a process but the more time I spend with you, the more I become aware of the interconnectedness of all things. [00:06:00] I once felt utterly hopeless and disconnected while feeling that there was no future for me. I didn't want to have this human experience or be in this body I wanted to crawl out of each moment, but it's because of you I am here now learning how to love myself in this beautiful and amazing body day by day, moment by moment. Because of you, I believe in a beautiful abundant, and loving future for myself and all, but for right now, I'm grateful to be in this present moment.
Perhaps there's more I wish to say, [00:06:30] but all that I wish to say to you goes beyond words. I extend my love and gratitude to you for being and your selfless devotion to continue nurturing all without asking anything in return. Recovery has not been easy, but with you, I have always felt loved, heard, nurtured, and supported. Each day love gets louder and ED voice dissipates.
Thank you for always being there and helping me believe that love is inherent in all of us and that connection and recovery are possible. I am now at a point in my [00:07:00] recovery where I am engaging in activities that help me sink into my body allowing me to feel more connected. The process has been beautifully slow, but I am grateful for where I'm at now. Thank you for this beautiful gift you have gifted me. I love you infinitely with love and gratitude Caitlyn Lee.
Mika: Dear fellow strugglers, sensitives, [00:07:30] misfits, outsiders, imperfect humans, who are actually quite beautiful in your fallability. This is a letter of gratitude for you.
Whether you're in recovery from an eating disorder, addiction, struggle with mood, or PTSD, or a deeply embedded fear of abandonment that we call borderline personality disorder, I am grateful for you. I've held the honor of journeying with you as you embark [00:08:00] on one of the bravest and most courageous acts of your life, recovery. I've been your therapist, your advocate, your holder of hope when you feel that there is none.
I know that often times it feels like you're drowning and you're failing at recovery and there's just no point. Why not just stay in bed with your head under the covers? Why not just skip that meal or eat until you feel so [00:08:30] full that there's no 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's what you forget on those days.
You are brave, you are strong, you have a purpose, you have a voice. There are things and people and experiences in this world that make you [00:09:00] feel alive. 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 okay to ask for help. That voice is trying to help you survive in the best way that it knows how, but that voice is not wise, and it [00:09:30] 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're struggling, which is what you were doing every time you go to therapy or enter treatment. In order to recover, you have to ask for help all the time. Don't forget that this makes you a warrior. You are doing the hard emotional labor of creating a life that [00:10:00] worth living to you. In this way through the work of recovery of learning who you are without an eating disorder or how to stay present with your emotions, to take up space to be direct and assertive, how to hold your boundaries, we're learning to be vulnerable in order to truly connect with others. You become a teacher.
Now I know that I'm the [00:10:30] therapist and I'm supposed to be full of all of this sage advice and you probably look at me and think that must be so put together, but watching you face your shadows and pain head-on in therapy is such an amazing gift to me. 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 is incredible. I'm in awe of you as a fellow human on this journey that we call life.
[00:11:00] 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 with love, [00:11:30] Mika.
Speaker 5: Dear Lindsey, the first dietitian I ever had, thank you for helping me find my way with the understanding that food was not my enemy. Thank you for helping me in the process of treatment. I know I was stubborn, but you still made me laugh and believed in me. You helped me challenged myself with the list of fear foods I gave you. You helped me do each and every fear food I had on my list. You helped me understand that my weight was not [00:12:00] going to ever define me.
One day, you said something that changed my thinking, changed my view of food, and impacted my recovery more than you could ever know. You said, "If you're at a party and there's cake and perhaps you want and an extra slice of cake, it's okay to have an extra slice. You won't gain weight from an extra slice of cake, so enjoy it and you will be okay."
I sometimes wonder if you remember saying that, but that impacted me while I was in treatment and to this [00:12:30] day. I used that same phrase to talk with people I love or people who would like support in their own recovery. Thank you for helping me be strong enough leave treatment. Thank you for all the hard work and amazing guidance. I appreciate everything. Thank you.
Speaker 6: Dear therapist, I've loved watching your passion grow over the past few years. The care you take with each of your patients is inspiring. I consider it an honor to watch you help your patients step into their journey [00:13:00] to recovery. Even on your toughest days, your generous, kind, encouraging, and treat each of your patients with the dignity and respect they deserve.
They know when they walk into your office that they will not be stigmatized or shamed for speaking about their struggles. What an immense it is to come to work and know each day that a miracle is taking place right in front of my eyes. You are loved by your patients and your co-workers. Thank you for believing in healing and [00:13:30] recovery. Love, your colleague.
Cara: Dear son, thank you for being there for all of us, really, as the center of our solar system a source of life. It seems a little silly writing to you, but the truth is you mean a lot to me. You see, in my darkest days of bingeing, when I ate myself into a corner letting life crumble around me, you were still there. I stopped going outside, [00:14:00] worried what other people thought of me at my highest weight and the stigma and shame I carried with me.
I stopped feeling the joy of your warmth on my face, and yet you were still there. Even when you were hidden behind the thickest clouds, thrashing winds of storms, tufts of snow from the sky, you were there. Even when I stayed in my room, curtains drawn not wanting to see the [00:14:30] light of day questioning if I even had a place in this world.
I didn't see and appreciate a lot of things when I was in the midst of binge eating disorder. I stopped hiking which was an activity that I loved most. I forgot how I twirled Sound of Music opening scene style my backyard growing up in Canada before plucking fresh raspberries from my mother's garden. I forgot [00:15:00] how I loved to watch your light, flicker on the ripple of each wave on our lake.
I can only surmise that I was a cloud, I was in a cloud in my years of binging which began at age nine and left that special sun-drenched yard in Canada. I swallowed my emotions of trauma my parent's divorce, sexual assault at age 12, loneliness with copious amounts of [00:15:30] food. In turn, I stopped appreciating and experiencing all life had to offer. I stopped doing anything that I valued.
Recovery was a lot of work, trudging to appointments and groups when I didn't want to get out of bed, but you were there announcing a new day, nudging me to get to work. I had to start all over again so many times and still you were constant and present as [00:16:00] always. Finally, I could see and feel you in my life. I learned to live with an attitude of gratitude for each day every time you rise in the East illuminating all your support and set gracefully in the West.
This sweet magnificent act is what holds us all here even when we are unable to recognize it. I had to see darkness to experience it. [00:16:30] Even now as I deal with life without binging, you are there a reminder to rise each day no matter what comes. You help me on the stormiest of days, the loss of a friend, a disappointing setback, or more. We will rise and set together each day.
Sometimes if I'm awake in the early morning hours, and worried about something with a quiet cup of coffee, I see you climb over the horizon, then I know I can too. You [00:17:00] provide light and nourishment for my own garden, this tiny plot in my community garden where I literally planted a new beginning for my own family. I get to the root of food, I spend time with my kids as they watch nourishment grow and thrive at our own fingertips. As long as you are there, it is worth doing the work for recovery to show up every day and shine as you do. [00:17:30] Shine on, Cara.
Ellie: Dear Mental Note listeners, you are unique. I don't know who you all are, but I know you're there. You're there for a reason, you can relate with our stories, you're interested you want to know more about hope and where it comes from in the midst of daunting illness. You want to believe that the unbelievable is possible for you or someone that you know. You want to share [00:18:00] your story with a grander community, one that circles the world and shares similar desires and struggles.
I may not know you by name, but I know who you are. You are the person who listens with open ears as these beautiful stories are told. You are the person who cries because you know all too well the feeling of grief and losing someone you love. You're the person who shares this podcast with others because it brings hope, and understanding for yourself or for your friend. You are the soft non-judgmental landing [00:18:30] place for vulnerability. You are the advocate for awareness and change. You are the person with empathy and compassion who understands how we all can relate to each other no matter our backgrounds.
You are the skeptic wondering if hope is for you. You are the creator of new choices, new beliefs, new storylines. You are the friend, the family member who's trying to understand in order to help those you love. From the bottom of my heart thank you for being [00:19:00] you. Thank you for listening, and spreading the message that recovery is possible education provides awareness and hope is for everyone with love and gratitude, Ellie.
Speaker 1: End of messages.
Ellie: Thank you for listening to [00:19:30] today's special eating Recovery Day episode. Our show is sponsored by Eating Recovery Center and Insight Behavioral Health Centers. If you're in search of recovery, but don't know how to make it happen to give them a call. You can get a free assessment with a licensed therapist who will help you figure out your next steps. Just call 877-411-9578. Also, it's not too late to write your recovery letter. Simply go to myrecoveryletter.com to write [00:20:00] and take part in the festivities. That's myrecoveryletter.com. Wishing you all the most beautiful spring. I'm Ellie Pike, till next.
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