It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW). And, as a result, a lot of emotions come up. I write because I want to make room for all of it. The pain, the sadness, the passion, the determination, the guilt, the shame, the excitement, the envy, the nervousness, the encouragement, the hope, the fear, the pride… Whatever the emotion, it’s all okay and there’s a place for it within (and outside of) this week. Why? Because, that’s a huge piece of what recovery is all about. Awareness and acceptance. Realizing you are where you are and you’re doing the best that you can (while also maybe being able to do better). That where you were last (EDAW) is not a testament of where you’ll be this year or where you’ll be in ten years. It’s just where you are now. Maybe you (or your loved one) is struggling this year whereas last year you were leading the fight. Maybe you’ve recently decided to give recovery a shot or maybe you’ve taken a break on the mountain of recovery. Wherever you are, you matter. Your life, your voice, your experience, it matters and it’s an important piece of this week. It’s all part of the recovery journey. And, it’s messy and raw. It’s filled with moments of incredibly joy while also moments of deep sorrow and grief.
This year, I encourage everyone to take stalk of what their needs during the week and to act in a way that practices self-care and compassion. Perhaps, it means saying,“No” to an event here or there versus trying to catch them all (check out NEDIC or the WWEDC for EDAW events near you). Maybe it means practicing opposite action by going to an event, challenging the shame that says you “can’t” because you’re struggling. Reflect on the emotions that get invoked this week and talk about them, if you can, with a friend, with a therapist, with a nurse, with a co-patient, with a family member. And, if you can’t, notice that. Register that there’s something that’s getting in the way of that versus ignoring it. Maybe, a time will come where you will want to reach out. And, if there’s one thing that is evident about this week, there is a lot of people (professionally and non-professionally) who want to journey along side you regardless of where you are in your recovery. To spread (and at times hold) the hope that there is life in recovery from an eating disorder.