Why I Talk About It

16797198_1439386579428541_8573836054428766669_oPeople always ask me why I’m so vocal about my recovery.

I gotta give it to them, I guess it is kinda a weird situation. I was silent so long about my actual eating disorder, so why am I so obsessed with talking about recovery? Why do I want to talk about something that I was so quiet about for five years?

Well, it isn’t for attention. It isn’t for my glory. It isn’t to say, “LOOK AT WHAT I DID, I WENT TO TREATMENT AND BEAT AN EATING DISORDER WOW LOOK HOW GREAT I AM.”

It isn’t like that at all, and if it was, I would 100% give you permission to punch me in the face.

Really, me talking about my recovery isn’t about me at all.

I talk about it because others who talk about it are why I got treatment.

If you didn’t know, there is a whole eating disorder recovery community on Instagram. I religiously stalked it last year. And I mean I hardcore stalked it. I followed all these girls (and guys!) who had eating disorders, some still struggling, but most of them in recovery. I was obsessed with these people because they were talking about what I had been quiet about for so long.

I was amazed. Like, what? People actually talked about their eating disorders? They talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly? They even admitted that they had a problem?

I was enthralled. These people were so free, and I wanted that freedom. I wanted to live like they were. I wanted to eat Ben & Jerry’s with my friends and have pizza nights with my boyfriend. I didn’t know how they did it, but I wanted it.

Seeing these people living their best lives in recovery inspired me and pushed me to take my own shot at it.

If those people on Instagram had not have talked about their recovery, I would not have gotten help.

I mean that in all seriousness.

I thought an eating disorder was my life. I thought that there wasn’t a way out. I thought that I was destined to live that way forever.

But those people in recovery gave me so much hope.

I saw that they were living so free and open, and I realized that if they could do it, I could do it too.

Because I knew that they used to be just like me. They were afraid of recovery. They didn’t want to start. They didn’t even know how to start. But eventually they did. And it was hard. And it hurt like hell. But they did it. They found freedom apart from their eating disorders.

They used to be where I was. That meant that I could get to where they are.

So that’s why I talk about it.

I talk about it because if those Instagrammers had not have talked about it, I would have never been brave enough to seek treatment for myself.

But they talked about it.

And I got the help that I needed.

And now I’m getting better.

So I’m going to talk about it.

I’m going to be that person that those people were to me.

People think that they’re alone. No one talks about it, so sufferers think that they’re alone in the fight. But they aren’t. And they need to know that. needed to know that. I’m going to let them know that they aren’t alone.

I’m going to talk about it so that other girls and guys know that they can do this. So that they know that recovery is possible for them. So that they know that they are strong enough and brave enough and free enough.

People who talked about it helped me.

I wouldn’t be here today if those people had not talked about it.

And if my voice can help one person, then I’m going to keep talking.

I’m never going to stop talking.

Because it is time to talk about it.

It’s going to keep being time to talk about it until eating disorders are gone.

And until that happens, I’m never going to stop talking.

I’m not going to stop until everyone knows freedom.


Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” We can’t keep quiet anymore. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 30 million people in the US suffer from an eating disorder. We can’t shut up about this UNTIL THEY ARE GONE. Talk with me. Learn more. Get screened. Educate others. Find ways to get involved and get more info at nedawareness.org.

cropped-sarah-e-bailes_alternate-logo.png

The Search for Identity

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 9.31.47 PM.png

I’ve gone on a really not-so-fun search for identity the past few weeks. I’ve had a lot of revelations about who I am in Christ over the past almost three years, but I have found myself trying to place my identity in all the wrong places.

In friends, my boyfriend, recovery, a sorority.

Now nothing is inherently wrong with any of these things. But it’s the value that you place in them that makes them wrong.

Friends are good and so so important to life. As Jesus reminded me a few weeks ago, he created us for community. But we cannot find our worth in that community. Who are friends are and how many friends we have do not determine how worthy we are as a human being. No. I am worthy, whether I have two friends or if I have two hundred. I am just as worthy being the most popular girl in school, or being the girl that no one knows. I. Am. Worthy.

I love my boyfriend. Sappy sap sap. Sorry. We just got back together and have a few month break (I never wrote a blog post on that but I meant to, oops). Anyways. As much as I love him, he is not my one and only. I am Sarah Beth, regardless of if Andrew is in my life. Who I am does not change whether I have a boy in my life or not. Like I said, I. Am. Still. Worthy. Having my boyfriend does not make my life any harder or easier. Life is still the same. It does not make my problems go away. Having a boyfriend simply means that I have another person to do life with. And that is so so fun. He’s on my team and I’m on his. But that does not change who I am independently.

RECOVERY IS SO GOOD, Y’ALL. Most of y’all who read my blog are in recovery too, so you know the joys that come from it. Just as making your diagnosis your identity while in the midst of your eating disorder is super easy, it is just as easy to make your recovery your identity too. I’m guilty of this one, not because I think advocacy is wrong, but because it’s how I viewed myself. Jesus has put it on my heart to work with eating disorders for the rest of my life as an LCSW and advocate. It’s my passion. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll never stop fighting for awareness. But I am also so much more than just a recovery girl. I like that title and I’ll proudly embrace it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Y’all. I’m not a sorority girl. But I came back to school this semester so insecure with myself that I decided that being in a sorority is what I needed to find who I am. Just a tip for y’all, but if you’re doing something just so you can find your label, you shouldn’t be doing it. Y’all, I loved the sorority that I rushed for/got a bid from. They are SO SO SO awesome. Literally I wanna be bffs with all the girls in it. But it’s not me. And that’s okay! I was joining the sorority just so that I could say I was in it, so that I could be given “my tribe,” and so that I could have a certain big. Not. The. Right. Reasons. To. Sell. Your. Life. Away. I’m the most introverted person that I know, so when I told my friends from home that I was rushing, they were like ???. Same, y’all. Same. So I dropped out of pledging on Bid Night. Y’all, I pledged for a solid two and a half hours. Once I actually got into the club I came to my senses and was like What the heck am I doing? This is NOT me. I had to have a come to Jesus moment with myself. And I realized that I was trying to put my identity in something that I was never meant to be apart of. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not fit into something. But it’s not okay to try to force yourself into it.

Let me tell y’all, I have been so incredibly broken over the past few weeks as I’ve grappled to find identity. I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me and I had no idea what to do or who I was or what I wanted.

But Jesus is so good because he knows me so well and has my name written on the palm of his hand! Which in my head means that he has my identity written on the palm of his hand. Because your name is what you’re identified by. Jesus literally knows exactly who I am just by looking at his hand. Well, he knows without looking at his hand. But the idea of my identity being on his hand is so so so cool, so you get my point.

So I asked Jesus who I was. What my true identity was. Not the identity that the world gives me. But the identity that HE gives me.

This is what he said:

  • I am called to belong to Christ.
  • I am created to be like God.
  • I am more than what people think.
  • I am what Jesus has done in me, not what I have done to save myself.
  • I am more than a former broken girl.
  • I am called to change the world with Jesus.
  • I am allowed to wear my prodigal ring and robe with pride.
  • I am fought for.

WHEW. I like this identity a lot.

Identity crisis over? Not quite.

I still stress about friends. Like, Jesus, when are you sending me my tribe? I need my people to live in the nitty gritty with!

I have to remind myself that who I am is no different just because I have a boyfriend. I’m still in charge of me.

I want to make recovery the forefront of my life, and even though it is majorly important right now, I have to remember that it won’t be as huge forever and one day it will be a small thing in the back of my mind (because one day I’ll be recovered woo woo!!).

I’m still dealing with a bit of regret from dropping out of pledging. It was the best decision I could have made for myself, but it’s still hard to watch everyone going through pledge week. But I have to remind myself, that is who they are, but it is not who I am.

Living in Jesus’ identity is so much better.

There is so much freedom.

It’s literally living in a cloud of glory, honestly.

I’ll gladly trade who I think I am in order to be who God knows that I am.

I pray that we all continue to find our worth and identity in what Jesus’ palm says about us. It’s the best person that we could ever be because it is who we were created to be.

cropped-sarah-e-bailes_alternate-logo.png