to proclaim freedom for the captives // NEDA week 2018


“May you learn to embrace the freedom that has long been your calling so you can liberate courage in others so they can do the same.”

Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018!!! This is my favorite week of the year because it feels like Christmas for one of the things most near and dear to my heart. (PS, read all the way to the bottom to get a fun lil surprise!)

Really if you follow my social media, you’d think that every week is NEDA week because I never shut up about freedom. I am always so vocal about this. I live in a constant state of vulnerability and being seen for all that I am. And just YES to that. Yes to never being silent.

Early on in my walk with Jesus, he (and my mentor) proclaimed Isaiah 61 over my life.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,


to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.”

Isaiah 61:1,3

Those verses light a fire under me like nothing else. YES. Let me proclaim FREEDOM for the captives and RELEASE FROM DARKNESS for the prisoners. Let bestow on them a CROWN OF BEAUTY instead of ashes and the OIL OF JOY instead of mourning.

If my purpose in this life is to proclaim good news and truth to those around me, then heck yeah, let me lean right into that. I am all about it. Let me be an instrument of freedom and healing for my God.

I’m pretty known around my school and really just life in general for being the girl in recovery or the girl with the blog or the girl who shares a lot of her personal life on social media. And honestly, I am so so okay with those titles. This is what Jesus has called me to, so hallelujah that this is what I am being known as. Hallelujah that I am not wasting my purpose.

I was talking to my friend the other day and I told her that I am apart of the “Glennon Doyle and Brene Brown world,” so I am 1000% about leaning into and living in vulnerability. Which I mean, that’s true, Glennon and Brene are both heading an awesome movement of living authentically and being vulnerable, but Jesus led this movement first. LITERALLY JUST LOOK AT THE VERSES ABOVE. Jesus is calling us to live in vulnerability.

We are called to speak truth into others. To break each other’s chains. To lead others into freedom!!!

“As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.”

This looks different for everyone for sure, but for me, Jesus has called me to be open and vulnerable through my blog and through Instagram. Through this, I have met so, so many amazing people that I have joined hands with and walked this journey with. I have mentored girls, helped people research/apply to/get admitted to treatment, and made friends all over the world (yes literally, the world–absolute craziness). Through my vulnerability and openness, I have helped walk people into freedom. And that is the most humbling, amazing feeling.

It is honestly the most humbling moment when I get a Facebook friend/message request or Instagram DM or email through my blog that starts with, “Hey so I know I don’t know you, but…” and then goes into how I inspired them, how I encouraged them to get treatment, how I helped them choose recovery. Literally WHAT. I am a mess of a human, and I fail this whole Christian and recovery thing daily, but Jesus uses my messy, rambling Instagram captions and creates them into megaphone for freedom for his glory. I don’t say this to toot my own horn (I really don’t know how my words mean so much to people I don’t even know), but I say this to show what Jesus does when you lean into your God-given purpose. It’s amazing.

It blows my mind and fills my heart with unexplainable JOY that this is the life that I am called to. My purpose in life is literally to help walk people into freedom. To say hey, me too. but it’s possible to get through this. let me walk with you. That is my calling as a Christian/friend/advocate, but it is also my calling as a future social worker. I CANNOT WAIT. 

Two years ago before treatment I would have never imagined that I would be where I am now. I would have never imagined that I would ever actually be in recovery and living life without my eating disorder, but I would have especially never imagined that I would be so vocal about such dark things.

The past year and a half has taught me that I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m ready to run straight into it. I’m ready to hand flashlights to those living in that darkness and say, “here’s a light. You can do this. I’ll be here to help and encourage and show you that you’re not alone in this, but you are capable of saving yourself.”

Hallelujah for vulnerability. Hallelujah that Jesus broke my fear of being seen. Hallelujah that he is using me as an instrument of freedom. Hallelujah for the freedom that he gave me. Hallelujah that he gives it freely to everyone who asks for it. Hallelujah for it all. 

I’ll never be quiet about recovery. This thing is too good. 

“I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.”

To celebrate NEDA week, I created a recovery-focused, empowering-as-heck playlist!! I’ve been hardcore jamming to it, so I hope that y’all do the same. 🙂 


Thank You for Staying

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Dear Mere,

My bff. My soulmate. The platonic love of my life. My hero. My go-to, always and forever. I love you. I’m thankful for you. It blows my mind that I get to do this life with you.

Last week in therapy, my therapist asked me about the relationships in my life. She wanted to know who my healthiest, most beneficial friendship was with. Without hesitating, I said, “my best friend Meredith.” I went on to explain how amazing and life-giving our friendship is. And I can’t stop thinking about that. About how crazy blessed I am by you. About how wild it is that I’m best friends with a random girl in Virginia. About how much this friendship means to me.

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We were inseparable during treatment. We called ourselves Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Dynamic Duo of CH, and a gazillion other nicknames that made no sense. We joked about ordering walkie-talkies on Amazon after they moved you to a different bedroom so we had to be separated for eight hours each night (complete torture). We begged to be put in Magnolia together downstairs, but they simply laughed at us because they knew we would never sleep if we roomed together again. We made stupid Snapchat videos during phone time making fun of all the weird rules we had to live with (lol @ all my Snapchat friends who were probably so confused by those videos because I had not “come out” about being in treatment yet). We watched Mamma Mia everyday until the DVD mysteriously “disappeared” until the day after we discharged #thanksMegan. We took the trash out together and played some rotten fruit baseball along the way (literally blessed that we never got caught because that was 1000% excessive body movement). We were loud as heck every night snack, but especially on Mondays. The house could barely handle the two of us together.

I’ll never forget that night in the hallway. You know what I’m talking about. If I hadn’t already known it, I knew right then that you’d be my best friend for life. You get me like no one else.

Carolina House discharged us a day apart (convinced they did that simply because they knew one of us couldn’t survive in res without the other). The day you left was one of the saddest days of my life. Saying goodbye and not knowing when I’d see you again after spending every waking moment of the past two months together was a punch in the gut like I’d never felt before. But the best days of our friendship were just beginning when we stepped foot outside of that yellow house.

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We’ve literally been through everything together. Recovery, starting college, navigating life away from home, making friends, almost joining Greek life (lol), falling in love, heartbreaks, friend issues, fighting with each other, happy anniversaries and sad anniversaries. We’ve danced on mountaintops together and cried with each other in deep valleys. We’ve seen it all and yet we’ve both stayed. Through all our arguments, through all the recovery lapses, through all the FaceTimes where all we did was cry. We stayed.

You’ve been the biggest constant in my life over the past year and a half. No matter what, I know that I can text you and vent about anything. It might take a while for you to reply, but you always listen and always always always validate. You’ve taught me what being a true friend looks like. And oh my, you have been the truest friend to me.

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You’ve stayed. And you haven’t ever considered leaving. I’m sitting here crying about that right now because wow, life post-discharge has been so brutiful. Beautiful in all the glory and joy that recovery brings, but brutal because life is just dang hard sometimes. And you’ve stayed through all of it. You have been a constant in my life that I’ve never experienced. I’ve never met someone who has experienced all the deep, dark messy with me and still decided to stay in the exact same position. Except no, you didn’t stay in the same position. You’ve only moved closer. You’ve gotten right in the dirty with me. You’re covered in the mud just as much as I am. You’ve said me too. You’ve said I understand. You’ve said I’m going through this with you. And that blows my mind.

Even when you didn’t have the words, you stayed. Even when I tried to push you away, you stayed. Even when I was less-than-pleasant to be friends with, you stayed. You stayed at times that I don’t even know why you would choose to stay. Your act of staying, of coming close, of getting messy with me has given me courage to stay also. You have selflessly loved me in a way that my words will never be able to explain.

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We are 546.3 miles apart, and yet you’re so present in my life that it feels like we are together everyday. We’ve only seen each other five times since we discharged, but each time we’re together it feels like nothing has changed. It takes someone super special to be able to stay that present when there is so much distance between us. And I’m so thankful that you’ve decided to stay present for me.

Knowing you has been life changing. Getting to walk this road with you has been the biggest blessing in my life. You’ve shown me love, grace, humility, acceptance, bravery, and forgiveness time and time and time again. You walk out your freedom so beautifully. You are my hero. @God, can I be like Mere when I grow up?? You’re a world changer. A truth speaker. A kind listener. A chain breaker. A goodness seeker. A peace bringer. A freedom proclaimer. A radical lover. A life changer.

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I’ve always known that I want to name one of my daughters Meredith. When you came to CH, I remember thinking, “I better like this girl because I don’t want her to screw up this name for me.” Now I am so excited to one day be able to tell my daughter about how she’s named after her beautiful, strong, brave, amazing Aunt Meredith.

I used to never understand recovered people who would say that they are thankful for their eating disorders. But now I do. I’m thankful for my eating disorder because through it I met you. Our paths would have never crossed if we didn’t go to Carolina House when we did. If we hadn’t decided that the risk was worth it to pull out of our senior years and put everything on pause to [hopefully] gain our lives back. The risk was so worth it. We gained our lives back. And we also gained each other.

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Thank you for staying, Mere. By doing that you have loved me in a way that no one else quite has. You jumped in right after me. You stayed with me. And you’re helping me climb back out. You’ve cried with me, screamed with me, and spoken some choice words with me. You’ve also laughed with me, cried tears of joy with me, and had dance parties over the phone with me. You’ve mourned with me and you’ve celebrated with me. You’ve stayed with me.

That means more to me than I could ever say. I love you so incredibly much. I can’t even say how many times I’ve looked at my phone background and said to whoever I was with, “I just love Mere SO much I can’t even handle it.” I don’t know what the heck I did to make God think I deserved you in my life. But I’m so so thankful.

Thank you for staying.


Thank you.



Missing the Vulnerability that Was Our Oxygen

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI miss treatment.

I get it, that’s probably a weird thing to hear if you’ve never experienced any sort of treatment.

But oh man, I miss it.

I miss waking up everyday to my very best friends.

I miss grumbling on gown mornings and everyone waiting in line to pee because heaven forbid you get weighed with a full bladder.

I miss gathering in a circle with everyone and praying before we started our day.

I miss being first table at breakfast so that I was for sure to able to get vanilla yogurt instead of nasty plain.

I miss the structure of my entire day being planned for me and knowing what to expect.

I miss a nurse giving me my medicine in a little paper cup.

I miss sitting in group four times a day curled up in my Disney blanket.

I miss making art in every free second that I got.

I miss nap time. Literally. 18 years old and I got to take a nap everyday. #blessed

I miss sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch and just dreaming of life post treatment.

I miss complaining of how disgusting Hermacita was but secretly loving it when she showed us attention.

I miss therapy sessions in the nap house (still no one knows why it’s called the nap house).

I miss looking for totem teddies at afternoon snack (I never got one till post discharge).

I miss watching the first 30 minutes of Mamma Mia every afternoon.

I miss the feeling of not being picked to do culinary group (HECK YEA, two free art hours!).

I miss playing Contact at dinner.

I miss doing Food & Feelings in pig latin.

I miss the excitement seeing the RPA walk back to the nurse’s office and knowing that she was going to get the box of our phones for phone time.

Heck, I miss my phone being locked up in a box all day and having only an hour each night to talk to friends and family (no social media though!). What a break from the real world.

I miss Phreddy updates at Community (or ommunity-cay as we liked to announce it as).

I miss finally being able to take night showers.

I miss everyone cuddling up on mine and Mandy’s beds in Dragon and having our nightly pow-wows before we were yelled at to go to bed.

I miss turning on the sound machine before we went to sleep.

I just miss it.

I miss the comfort of being there.

I miss the comfort of being able to fully feel my emotions, and having no shame if I randomly burst out into tears in group or at dinner or during phone time or even just sitting on the couch.

I miss being with people who get it.

Those girls were my people. Are my people. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have a good group of girls surrounding them in treatment. But man, I was blessed to have met so many beautiful souls, most of whom I still talk to and am close with today. They’re still my favorite people I have ever encountered in this life. No exaggeration. They are my people.

But I miss the comfort of our yellow bubble. I miss knowing that I always had 15 other people that I could talk to when things got tough. I miss the community.

Glennon [always] says it best. “I tell them that the first time I peeked out of my cage was in the mental hospital. Since it was a smaller world with gentler rules, I felt safe being vulnerable. People wore their scars on the outside, so you knew where they stood. There were no representatives there. It was such a relief to stop acting. There were rules about how to listen well and speak kindly. We learned how to dance and paint and write our feelings instead of eat and drink them. We held hands when we were afraid. I cried when I had to leave.”


I miss living without a representative.

I miss simply being me,




I miss being in a place where crying was okay.

I miss being in a place where no one thought twice if you were having a hard day.

I miss being in place where I was not expected to be happy.

I miss being in a place where I was not guilted or shamed if my day was cloaked in depression.

I miss being in a place where I didn’t feel like I had to apologize for being in a bad mood.

I miss being in a place where I was surrounded by people who were in the mess of it all with me.

I miss the vulnerability that was oxygen to us.

We lived with our hearts on our sleeves and we loved each other so big.

Because we saw each other for ALL that we are. Every single part.

They loved me when I low-key looked like an alien.

They loved me when I was depressed.

They loved me when I cried each week after family therapy.

They loved me when I was sassy in Food & Feelings.

They loved me when I refused a meal.

They loved me when I started smiling again.

They loved me when my refeeding belly was oh so big and beautiful.

They loved me when I sang Annie non-stop.

They loved me when I spent my birthday in treatment.

They loved me when they finally saw the real Sarah Beth for the first time ever.

And they loved the real me too, just as much.

I just miss being in a place where there was no faking it. No mask-wearing. No stuffing emotions down. Emotions continually poured out of each 16 of us, and though it could be overwhelming sometimes, it was so, so beautiful.

Nothing is more beautiful that living completely open.

And we did that.

And I miss that.




Recovery Q+A


Hey friends! I know that eating disorder recovery can be confusing to people that have never experienced it. BUT luckily someone suggested I do a recovery Q+A, so here we are!!! I’m answering most of the questions that I received, but if you don’t see yours on here or you think of me, feel free to leave a comment or message me through my contact page. Love y’all wowowow!!

Q. When you were in your disorder, was your view of your body distorted? Like, did you see yourself as fat when in reality you were actually skinny? And is that part of an eating disorder or a separate thing that a non-eating disordered individual can experience?

A. YES, my view of my body was extremely distorted. Looking back at pictures now, I can see how sickly I looked, but in the moment, all I saw was fat. I saw fat on parts of my body that didn’t even exist. Body dysmorphia is a common part of eating disorders that most (but not all) individuals suffer from. However, there is a disorder called Body Dysmorphia Disorder. While many eating disorder individuals claim to have BDD, it is not possible (according to the DSM-5!) for the two disorders to co-occur. BDD is essentially the same thing that many eating disorder sufferers experience, but just a separate diagnosis specifically for those without eating disorders. So yes, it is possible for non-eating disordered individuals to experience distorted body image. While I can’t say that every person who has bad body image has BDD, it is definitely a possibility.


Q. What are some tips for dealing with a changing body in recovery? Specifically when you are “weight restored” but your body is still changing.

A. Girl, I still struggle with this! Weight restoring is hard, and then it’s still hard when you body continues to change and fluctuate. However, that is SO NORMAL. Weight fluctuates all the time. It happens to everyone, not just eating disorder individuals. So for me, I’m just learning to trust my body. Our bodies are SO smart, and they know what they’re doing. So when my body changes or fluctuates, I just remind myself that it is normal and I choose to trust my body, even when my eating disorder is screaming no. I also fact check with my dietitian a lot! I tell her what I’m experiencing and she always tells me that it’s normal and we discuss how I feel about it. I suggest reaching out to your treatment team because they can validate how you feel but also give you the facts!!


Q. How do you balance the demands of college while maintaining stable recovery?

A. At this point in my recovery, it feels normal to me to balance the two, but when I started my freshman year, it was so overwhelming. BUT FLEXIBILITY IS KEY. College is demanding and your schedule gets crazy hectic, but you have to make room for snacks and meals. For me, sometimes this means eating in class or at work. You can’t use your busy schedule as an excuse to not eat. You have to be proactive and make a plan for the times that you’re busy! When signing up for classes, I always make sure to have a break in between classes to have lunch. Figure out what works for you, and stick with that! Reach out to your friends and let them know what’s going on so that they can keep you accountable. If you’re struggling, make sure to always go to the dining hall with friends. Work with your school to get some accommodations if needed. It’s challenging, but as long as you stick to what you know you need to do, it’ll become second nature!


Q. What are some things that are helpful and supportive to say to a person recovering from an eating disorder as opposed to the well-meaning yet destructive comments?

A. Thank you so much for asking this question. I know it’s really easy to say, “Wow, you look so healthy!” or something of that nature, but to someone in recovery, their eating disorder can twist that to mean “Wow, you look so FAT!” It’s best to stray away from commenting on the person’s appearance. Tell them that you’re proud of them. Acknowledge that recovery is so so hard, and validate how they feel. Offer to help them in any way that you can, whether that be meal support or accountability or distraction. Acknowledge that you don’t understand what recovering from an eating disorder is like, but always be willing to listen to them. Remind them that they’re worthy and capable and that you believe in them. Most of all, just be there for them!!


Q. How do you start a relationship with God, and how does that affect/play into your recovery?

A. You start a relationship with God like you do any other relationship. You spend time with him. I started doing this by starting a prayer journal, which is just a normal journal, but you address your journal entries to God as a prayer. For me, that was an easy way to begin my prayer life because I was doing something that I’d normally do, but I was making it a spiritual practice. And reading your Bible is so important! I recommend starting with the Gospels so you can learn about who Jesus is and what he did for you. Feel free to comment or message me for more book suggestions! Get plugged in with a good Christian community, whether that be a youth group or Bible study or whatever. Most importantly, just push through and put in the effort to get to know God, even if you can’t feel him! The more you learn about him, the more you’ll be able to feel his presence.

My faith plays a big part of my recovery. I feel like the two go hand and hand. For me personally, I don’t think I’d be in recovery if it weren’t for Jesus. Knowing Jesus gives me a purpose and a reason to not live a miserable life of self-destructive behaviors. The more I know Jesus, the more I want to live for him and in line with what his Word says. Jesus is the most important thing to me, and if I want to live for him, I can’t live for my eating disorder.


Q. For you, what is the most rewarding part of recovery?

A. The freedom that I experience. Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am the happiest that I have been in years. Being able to eat and laugh and live life without ruining friendships or isolating or feeling guilty or as if I’m drowning all the time is the best feeling. I’d never give up on this journey because recovery offers me so much more freedom than my eating disorder ever did.


Q. Do you believe in full recovery? And if so, how do you know when you’re fully recovered?

A. I do. I don’t/won’t believe that we’re made to live in our eating disorders for the rest of our lives. We’re made to live in full freedom, and I believe that that is possible after a lot of hard work. I think full recovery comes when you don’t hear your eating disorder’s voice all the time anymore. I think when the voices do come (which they will from time to time because #dietculture), recovered is being able to immediately combat the eating disorder voice as lies without thinking and without urges to act on behaviors. It takes a while to get to fully recovered. It’s a gradual process, but one day you’ll realize that you haven’t had thoughts or urges in so long and that you eat whatever you want without a second thought. I don’t know how long it takes. But I do know that I’m over a year into this journey, and I’m still not recovered. But I’m getting there. And I fully believe that it will happen one day, and I don’t think that that day is too far off.


Q. As a Christian, do you believe that you can be fully 100% healed from a mental illness through the Holy Spirit?

A. I think so. I had a pretty instantaneous moment of healing from self-harm, so I do know that the Holy Spirit can heal mental illness or self-destructive behaviors. As I mentioned in the above question, I believe that full recovery is possible. God doesn’t always heal through prayer and the laying of hands; sometimes God heals through doctors and therapists and other treatment providers. I wouldn’t be in recovery if it weren’t for going to Carolina House, but I believe that God worked through that treatment and is still working through my continual outpatient treatment. It’s a hard question to answer, and I’d love to talk one-on-one if you’re interested! But short answer, I believe that 100% healing//full recovery is possible. Healing can obviously come to those who are not Christians (SO many people from other religions are fully recovered), but I do believe that the Holy Spirit can bring that same healing, whether instantaneous or by working through worldly treatment. In this blog post, I talk about my instantaneous healing from self-harm and how I feel like God is still a big part of my eating disorder recovery, even though I did not experience the same instant healing through prayer.


Q. What is your favorite DBT skill?

A. Opposite action. As much as I hate it sometimes, it’s the most useful skill in my opinion! When my eating disorder says no to pizza or ice cream or whatever, I force myself to say yes and eat it anyway BECAUSE SCREW MY EATING DISORDER. I think recovery is basically summed up as opposite action because you never feel 100% ready, but you choose to recover anyway.


Q. What is your favorite self-care activity?

A. I’m a huge introvert, so I love having alone time. Whether that’s reading or painting my nails or watching Netflix (or all three!), I love having a night to myself to decompress and let my emotions level out without overflowing.

This was so fun, y’all! Thanks for sending in such great questions. 🙂 Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or opinions to any of my answers! And feel free to contact me if you have anymore questions. Thanks for being so awesome!!!


Why You Should Watch “Feed”


Okay, y’all. I know that To The Bone is getting a lot of mainstream coverage right now, but in my humble [eating disorder survivor] opinion, let’s forget about that movie and focus on the one that should be getting all of the attention: Feed.

Feed  is a film written by Troian Bellisario, an actress most known for her role as Spencer in Pretty Little Liars. The movie is based off of Troian’s own experience with an eating disorder during her high school and college years. In an interview, Troian discusses how the movie is not the exact events of her life (she didn’t have a twin brother who died), but is more to help audiences understand what it “sounds like and feels like” to live with anorexia.

Y’all, I’ve seen a lot of eating disorder movies during my time (holla at all the old school Lifetime movies (so triggering omg I do not recommend)), but I am confident in saying that I think that this is the best movie about eating disorders that I have ever seen. It addresses the reality of living with the disorder without romanticizing behaviors and it accurately shows what the process of reaching recovery is like.

** Warning: spoiler alerts ahead!! **

In the movie, Troian plays Olivia, the 18-year-old twin to Matthew. Olivia and Matthew are inseparable. They do everything together, they have the same friends, and their dreams are connected. Olivia is extremely smart and has a lot of pressure on her to get accepted into Yale and keep up her valedictory status. Her eating disorder had already begun on a smaller scale, but became more rampant when Matthew suddenly passes away in a car accident.

Now this is where the movie gets confusing/realistic/the best thing ever. After her brother dies, she continues to have visions of him being with her and talking to her. At first I was confused by this because “ghost Matthew” gets increasingly meaner and meaner to Olivia throughout the movie. At first, Matthew is there and it’s simple “I miss you” conversations, but it quickly escalates to him yelling at her when she tries to open up to people and coercing her to jump off her balcony. He was also then with her constantly while she was inpatient, telling her that it was her fault that they were stuck there and that he wanted to leave. I was honestly weirded out by this, but then it hit me. GHOST MATTHEW IS ACTUALLY OLIVIA’S EATING DISORDER.

Okay, now you’re probably even more confused, but bear with me. Matthew was a safe person for Olivia. They studied together and helped carry one another’s burdens. They never did anything alone. So after Matthew was gone, she needed something to fill that void. To help carry her burdens and be her friend and her best coping skill. So boom. Eating disorder. An eating disorder often takes the figure of being something safe and comfortable. A voice that can seem so trustworthy and safe that ends up being so extremely toxic. It often cloaks itself in a disguise as something else, which I think Feed showed really well by portraying Olivia’s eating disorder as her deceased brother. She wanted to trust him and do everything he said for so long, but finally during one of her counseling sessions while she was inpatient, everything snapped.

During her session, Olivia is trying to make a revelation to her therapist, but her brother (eating disorder) is screaming at her to lie and say that she’s fine and that she’ll gain weight and that she’ll do whatever her treatment team wants. He tells her that she will be nothing without him and that he hates her, which sounds a lot like Ed tbh. Finally ghost Matthew tells her that he will take her away with him, but through her sobs she says, “You’re not. You’re not. You’re not because you’re not my brother.” YES, GIRLFRIEND, YES. And then her “brother” walks out of the room with his head down like shoot she found me out she knows I’m Ed not Matthew. HECK YEA. She had lived her entire life with her twin brother by her side, but now he’s gone and she had to find something to feel like he was still there. So losing her eating disorder is so extremely painful for her because it feels like she’s losing her brother too. She finally made the connection that it wasn’t really her brother’s voice, but that it was her eating disorder disguising it self as something trustworthy.

This is the reality for a lot of eating disorders. Granted, most eating disorder sufferers do not have a deceased twin brother, but the story is still the same. The eating disorder takes the form as something comfortable and trustworthy, which makes it even more painful to let go of it. And you can’t even recognize it as a problem yourself because you trust it so much. It’s such a big sticky web of misplaced trust! And I think that Feed did a really good job of accurately portraying it in an artistic way. No other movie (that I’ve seen) has touched on this idea in that way, so I think that its unique approach is what makes it so incredibly accurate, even if slightly confusing at first (because hey, Olivia was confused about it all too! We were kinda living in her brain with her).

One other thing that I loved about Feed was that it didn’t focus on behaviors or numbers or weight loss or her body or anything like that. Yes, it shows Olivia restricting meals and going on runs, but that is not the main focus of the movie by any means. The focus of the movie is on her relationship with ghost Matthew, aka her eating disorder. I like this focus because it focuses on the part of the eating disorder that everyone can relate to – the voice inside your head. Everyone has different struggles with behaviors and weights and whatnot, but we all struggle with the eating disorder voice. So I think it was really cool to just kinda throw away all the “symptom” stuff and focus on the actual root of the disorder.

I’m not a therapist or an expert, but as a recovery individual who has gone through treatment and the lows of an eating disorder and also the windy path of recovery, I highly recommend and endorse this movie. With all things, practice safe watching and self-care. It is an eating disorder movie, so there will be triggering parts to those who also suffer with an eating disorder. But I think it is done in a tasteful way that is as least triggering as possible with absolutely no romanticizing of the disorder or behaviors. Know yourself, and take care of yourself. If you know that you will be triggered by the movie, please do not watch it. If you are unsure, watch it with a safe person and have a plan in place to turn the movie off if it becomes overwhelming. Recommend this movie to your loved ones to help them understand eating disorders better. Get this movie out there. If there is any eating disorder movie that needs to be getting mainstream coverage, it’s this one.

In an article that Troian wrote for the NEDA website about the movie, she says, “Feed is meant to be a dark ride, and just the beginning of what I think is a very important conversation—a conversation that will hopefully lead to more people getting the help they deserve. Don’t get me wrong, I think it can be immensely powerful to shine a light into the dark, but maybe it can be just as powerful to walk into it and let your eyes adjust. That, to me, is how we find our own way out.” (PS, read the entire article. It is SO good.)

Feed is available to watch on Amazon or iTunes.


A Conversation With My “Little Sister”

Unknown.jpgLast week, I went into my dietitian appointment telling her all the lies that I was believing and speaking over myself. Lies from the enemy and lies from Ed, but lies that were growing in my mind and sprouting through my thoughts. She looked at me and said, “If you had a little sister and she came to you and said these things about herself, what would you say to her? I know you and I know that you would not let her speak such harsh things about herself.” She then challenged me to make one of my goals for the week (we set weekly goals; super helpful!) to notice who is talking and who is listening. That meaning, to notice my thoughts, and pretend as if my internal self is a younger sister who is telling these things to me. And if they are lies, to combat them with the truths that I would tell to a real little sister if I had one. Combatting lies for myself is hard, but I’d do anything for another little girl. So we’re going to practice this for a bit. Writing out my lies as if my little sister (or a younger me) were telling me them, and combatting them with truths. Here. Goes. Nothing.

I’m sitting cross-legged on the edge of my bed, scrolling through Instagram. My little sister had posted a selfie just a few minutes before, and when I see it, all I can think about is how beautiful she is. Her long, dirty blonde hair; her light blueish-gray eyes; her gorgeous smile. I go to comment on her photo, but when I do, I get a notification that the picture has been deleted.

Huh, I think to myself. I post pictures and then delete them a lot because I’m self-conscious a lot, but I’ve never seen sister do that. 

I keep scrolling through my feed, and then eventually put my phone aside when the comparison becomes too much. I get up and go to stand in front of the mirror.

Fat. Fat, fat, fat. So. Much. Fat. I pull at my stomach, poke at my thighs, and stare at my stretch marks. This recovery thing is great and all, but this recovery body is just a little too much over the top. 

“LUNCH TIIIIIIIIIIIIIME,” I hear my sister scream as she comes running down the hall. “Sarah Beth! I’m hungry! And Mom said that you had to come eat lunch with me, so come on!”

“Okay, okay, give me a second,” I say as I pull my shirt back down and put an oversized sweatshirt on.

“What were you doing in front of your mirror anyway? It look weird.”

“Oh nothing, just teenage girl stuff. I’ll race you to the kitchen!” I exclaim, trying to change the subject. She’s too young to understand. She’s nine, and she loves her body, just like she should. I don’t want to put any thoughts into her head.

Once we get to the kitchen, I begin to prepare my lunch. I check the nutrition labels on everything, trying to decide what I want to eat. Or I guess, what Ed wants to eat. Sarah Beth doesn’t check nutrition labels, but Ed sure as heck does.

I look over, and I see sister checking the nutrition label on the microwave pizza that she’s making.

“Sister, do you know what all that means?” I ask, surprised and confused.

She nods. “Yup! I’ve seen you do it before, so I asked my teacher in health class at school what all of it meant. She said that you’re probably reading the calories, and she said that too many calories make you fat. So she said the lower number of calories in a meal, the better!”

Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t believe her teacher told her that. Why would a teacher tell a nine year old that she’s going to get fat?! I had no idea that she was even watching me. I don’t normally check nutrition labels anymore, but I guess on my hard days she’s seen me do it.

I finally find words to say. “Sister, are you scared of getting fat? You know that calories don’t matter.”

“Well,” she says as she looks at her feet, “I wish I was skinnier. I have friends who are skinnier than me, and they seem to be more popular than I am. Like, I had posted a picture on Instagram earlier, but I deleted it because my cheeks looked too chubby.”

My cheeks flash red and I can feel myself beginning to get hot. How did this happen? How is this happening to my little sister?

She continues, “And my teacher said that watching your calories is important and a good way to lose weight. So I don’t know, it’s not a big deal. She told me everyone does it. You do it too, I’ve seen you.”

I look at her, my eyes big, trying to search her face. I set down the bag of chips I’m holding and go stand next to my sister. “Sister, I love you. Calories don’t matter. Remember how I went to nutrition camp last summer? When I was there I learned that a calorie is a unit of energy. That’s pretty cool, right? That means that the more calories you eat, the more fun stuff you can do! If you don’t eat enough calories, you’ll be tired. But when you eat enough, you have the energy to ride your bike and go to the pool and play in the backyard. And that’s what you want to do, right? Spending your summer outdoors is a lot more fun than spending it inside asleep on the couch because you don’t have enough energy in your body.”

“Wait, really?” She asked in disbelief. “Then why did my teacher act as if they’re little monsters who grow fat in our bodies?”

“Some people think calories are like that, but it’s not true. Those people have it wrong, unfortunately. But you know what you can do? If you hear someone say that calories are bad, you can tell them what I just told you. You can be their teacher! It’s really sad to live a life being afraid of calories, so it’s our jobs to help people live the same happy lives that we are.”

“That’s a good idea! I want to do that. I can’t wait to tell my friends when we go to the pool this afternoon!” She skips off with her pizza, going to eat it in the living room while she watches TV.

Crap, I forgot that I had to take sister and her friends to the pool. I haven’t gone swimming in a long time. I don’t want people to look at me. Okay, okay, no big deal. I can just wear a t-shirt over my bathing suit. And I won’t get in. I’ll bring a book with me and sit in a chair under the shade.

After I finish eating, I go upstairs to get ready. We have to meet sister’s friends at the pool in thirty minutes, and she is already getting ready in her own room. As I’m going through my bathing suits deciding which one to wear, I hear my sister crying in her room.

I walk down the hall and knock on the door. I find her in the same position that I was in just a few hours earlier – standing in front of the mirror and staring at her body.

“What’s wrong, sister?” I ask, trying to cover my concern.

“I can’t go to the pool. I just can’t,” she says through her sobs. “I know what you said about calories downstairs, but look at my belly. It is so big and round. And then my thighs become huge when I sit down. See, look, ” she directs as she sits down on her bed and points at her thighs. “They’re as big as Africa! I can’t go to the pool like this. I’m embarrassed.”

Tears well up in my eyes. Jesus, please not this. Not her. She’s beautiful! How do I make her see herself the way I see her?

I look at my sister. She’s sitting on her bed, her long hair pulled up into a messy bun. She put waterproof mascara on to go to the pool. She’s staring at her thighs with tears rolling down her face.

I walk over and sit down on her bed. “Look at me. You are beautiful. I know you don’t see it, but please try to listen to me. Your eyes sparkle when you talk. Your smile could light up any room. In fact, your smile is brighter than the sun. Seeing you smile makes me smile. You are kind, you are genuine, you are funny. You love others so well. You look for the outcasts and you befriend them. You don’t want to leave anyone out. Those things make you internally beautiful, sister. You have so much beauty inside of you that it leaks right out of you into the world.”

“But,” she looks up at me, “what about the rest of me? You said my insides were pretty, but I don’t care about that. My insides won’t make me popular. And yeah, you talked about my eyes and smile, but what about the rest? I want to be pretty.”

“Oh, sister. You are so beautiful and strong and powerful. Your thighs? They give you the ability to run and jump. You know how you can jump rope really well? That’s because your thighs are so strong! Your thighs are beautiful, but they are so much more than that. They allow you to do all the things that you love to do. And your belly! Sister, I love your belly. It is not too big; it is the perfect size. See?” I say as I pull up my shirt, “Your belly looks just like mine! I love having a belly that looks like yours. Because I love you!”

She giggles a little bit as she pokes my stomach and then pokes hers. “Are you sure? I just don’t feel pretty. My friends are prettier than me. Their bellies are flat and they have curly hair and they’re taller than me.”

“Their beauty is their own, but you have a beauty that is completely unique to you. You don’t have to be pretty like them because you’re already pretty like you. Comparing yourself to your friends isn’t worth it. You’re never going to be the same as them because you’re not the same. And that’s okay! Being unique is pretty cool if you ask me. Because guess what. Out of the seven billion people in the world, there is not another person that is just like you! That means that God thought you were so special and so cool that he only made on of you. Just be you, sister. You are worthy, you are loved, you are perfect just the way you are.”

“I don’t know…” she whispers as she looks back down at her hands. “Do you believe that about yourself?”

I look down quickly, but then look at her in the eyes. “I’m trying to. I’m not there yet, but I believe it more than I did a year ago. How about we make a deal?”

She nods.

“How about we change into our bathing suits, go to the pool, and then get ice cream after? We’ll do it together. We’re not in this thing alone. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes we’ll be self-conscious, but we can remind each other of some truths.”

“I like that idea!” She exclaims. “But how will I know what truths to say?”

I stand up and walk over to sister’s desk. I open the drawer and pull out a piece of construction paper and a box of markers.

“Here,” I say as I hand her the materials. “Let’s make a list of all the nice things we want to be reminded of when we feel bad.”

We made a list:

  • You are beautiful just the way you are.
  • You are smart and capable of everything you put your mind to.
  • You are funny, and I will always laugh at your jokes.
  • You are unique. 
  • God made you just the way you are because he wanted someone just like you.
  • You are so strong and brave.
  • Your thighs give you the ability to run and your stomach allows you to have deep belly laughs.
  • You are kind and compassionate.
  • You are the perfect size. 
  • You are you and I think that is pretty great.
  • The size of your body does not define you, and just because someone’s body is different than yours does not make it any better or worse.
  • I love you, I love you, I love you.

We smiled at each other.

“I love you, sister,” I say.

“I love you too,” she says as she leans over to give me a hug.

I stand up to walk back to my room to get ready for the pool. This is going to be hard, but I need to teach her how to love herself. I need to be a good example and speak truth into her, so that means I have to speak truth into myself. If I won’t let her say these things about herself, I shouldn’t say them about myself. It’s going to be hard and uncomfortable, but if I’m not going to do it for me, I have to do it for her. 


I Never Meant to Tell This Kind of Story.


I never meant to tell this kind of story.


I never meant to tell the kind of story

that is secretly

(yet visible for everyone to see)

etched on to porcelain wrists.


I never meant to tell the kind of story

that curls around collarbones

and hides behind ribs

that try to fill up the emptiness inside,

but yet only stick out like swords

waiting to hurt anyone who

comes too close.


I never meant to tell the kind of story

that is confessed to an empty toilet bowl,

applauded with the cool


backsplash of water.


I never meant to tell the kind of story

that flinches,



at a mere hand on the shoulder,

because at one point

there were hands that were

not so kind.


But this is the story that I’m telling,

and I don’t know how I got here.

I don’t want to tell this story.


But I must tell this story.


I must tell this story

because I cannot stay prisoner,

I cannot stay captive

to the darkness that has held me under

for so long.


The story is screaming to be told,

and I don’t want to tell the story,

but I must tell the story.


I tell the story so that I have a voice.

So that I have freedom.

So that I can find peace.

So that I can close my eyes

and forget his face.

So that I can eat lunch

without the guilt gnawing inside,

or without the urge to discard of my food

after I have already consumed it.

And so that my scars

will just be scars,

not lines of embarrassment

and reminders.


I tell the story the story so that





I need to live.

I need to breathe.

I need to be set free from this story

that I have been writing on my body

for over half a decade.


This story will no longer be told

through my body,

but through my words.

I will speak them,

I will type them,

I will write them,

I will scream them,

I will get them out.


I will






I will live.

I will breathe.

I will be set free.


I will tell this story.


I never meant to tell this kind of story.

But this kind of story is meant to be told.