Seen + Known, and Still Loved

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This picture makes me feel seen + known because these are the trees outside of Carolina House. These trees saw ALL my emotions two summers ago. These trees heal me.

Do you ever just wake up on a Monday morning, crying because you desperately want to be seen + known, and still loved? Because that’s me right now.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I spent a good chunk of last week in my favorite place ever, Durham, North Carolina. My home away from home, my happy place. The city that holds my entire heart.

I know Durham is a super random, probably not exciting city for most people, but that place is where I can breathe the easiest. It’s where I can exhale a breath that I’ve been holding in for months. It’s where I am free and the best version of me possible (if you don’t like who I am, maybe go to Durm with me. I’m 1000x better there). It’s where I went to treatment and where I got my life back. I’m convinced that healing is in their oxygen there. Quote me on that. I’m so convinced that I’d probably even argue a scientist on it.

What makes Durham the healing and life-giving place that it is, is the people there. My people there. My people there are my TRIBE, the ones that I am so completely authentic and vulnerable with that it hurts but feels so so free and so clean. I can’t talk about my treatment friends without crying. I’m lowkey sobbing now as I write this because I LOVE my people there. I don’t have to wear a mask when I’m in Durham. I can feel all my feels so deeply, but also feel the joy that springs from so deep inside. I don’t have to hide. I can wear my heart on my sleeve there, which is tbh my favorite place to wear it because I’m all about vulnerability. 

With my treatment friends, it’s acceptable to struggle out loud. To feel all your feels to the deepest extent. Really, it’s expected. Because to us, being emotional means healing. And the shutting down, hiding, and avoiding means that you aren’t changing, you’re hurting, you’re struggling. It’s what we were taught, and it’s how we learned to get our lives back. It’s how we live our best lives. Because the emotions and the crazy brought us freedom in that lil yellow house in the woods, and it does the same out here in the real world too.

And y’all, I wanna live that way everyday, everywhere, with everyone.

But I can’t.

That isn’t how our world operates.

Our world teaches us that emotions are bad, that they are not to be seen, that we need to hide them and stuff them.

I lived like that for the first 18 years of my life, and it was hell. It landed me with an eating disorder, self-harm, and suicidality. It taught me to use my body to convey how I felt, instead of my words. Because that was prettier and a lot more acceptable. But oh my goodness, couldn’t have being open and honest about how I was feeling saved me from all of that? If I was taught to tell my truth with my voice instead of my body?

Glennon gets me (always). In her book Love Warrior, she says, “We started out as ultra sensitive truth tellers. We saw everyone around us smiling and repeating, ‘I’m fine! I’m fine! I’m fine!’ and we found ourselves unable to join them in all the pretending. We had to tell the truth, which was: ‘Actually, I’m not fine.’ But no one knew how to handle hearing that truth, so we found other ways to tell it. We used whatever else we could find–drugs, booze, food, money, our arms, other bodies. We acted out our truth instead of speaking it and everything became a godforsaken mess. But we were just trying to be honest.YES.

I am so sick of hiding. I have been for the past two years, so I’ve decided to be hella honest about where I’m at all the time. And that is so healthy for me. If I can just vocalize my thoughts, outwardly process them whether it be to my journal or to another person, it gets them out of my head. If they stay in my head, they take root and that’s when things get dark and messy. But if I can get those thoughts out into the light, they hold less power. So I’m honest. I’m vulnerable. I’m all about living open with my close group of people (and sometimes the internet when the time calls for it–#livingoutthatGlennonlifestyle amiright).

I REFUSE TO HIDE ANYMORE.

But oh man, refusing to hide has been one of the most painful things because wow, some people just don’t want to see and know you for all that you are. And maybe it’s not that they don’t want to, but that they just simply can’t. Which is okay, and so valid. But that doesn’t make the sting of “oh my goodness, I was seen and known, but not loved” hurt any less.

I’m not always a hot mess. I’m a deeply happy person that happens to feel every other emotion just as deeply, so ya girl has lots of thoughts and lots of feels. I’m sensitive, but that’s not a bad thing. My sensitivity allows me to see the world in a different light and is going to make me a kick butt social worker in a couple years. I just have a lot to process a lot of the time. No emotion or situation is black and white for me. It’s all gray, all the time. There’s a lot going on in my head, and I’m really not ashamed of that. 

I just desperately want to be seen + known. And even more so, I want to be loved for all that is seen and known about me. 

Durham with my treatment friends is my small slice of heaven. I am so seen and so known, and yet I am still so deeply loved. I want that kind of community everywhere. I don’t want to have to hop on a plane to experience that.

If you’re wishing to be seen, known, and loved also, let me know. Write a comment, shoot me an email. I know we’re all out there. We’re all fighting to find our place in this world, wondering what’s the perfect equation of being real with the world enough to be appreciated and applauded but not too real that it makes people uncomfortable.

Personally, I’m tired of that equation. I just want to be real. And I know that a lot of y’all are feeling that way too.

Let’s make this a goal. A community goal. To be real, to be authentic, to be vulnerable. And to encourage one another in that, lift each other up, and love each other so so big. Let’s form the community that we’re all desperately wishing for.

I’ll see you and I’ll know you, and I promise that I’ll love you.

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Remembering Two Years Ago

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April 15, 2016the day I was told that I had to enter inpatient treatment.

April 18, 2016the day I received my Carolina House admit date.

April 22, 2016the day that I was pulled out of school.

April 25, 2016the day that I was supposed to admit to Carolina House for residential eating disorder treatment (that they then kept pushing back due to current patients not discharging).

May 4, 2016the day I did a phone intake with Eating Recovery Center + was in the middle of booking a flight to Denver when I got a call from Carolina House saying they could finally admit me the next day. 

May 5, 2016finally admitted to Carolina House and my life changed forever.


This time of year is the weirdest/hardest/best. I wrote about it last year, and honestly I thought the feels of reliving the past would be gone by year two, but wow, they are just as strong.

Each day this month it seems like I tell my friends, “oh this day two years ago I was doing _____!” because I can remember everything about the month leading up to Carolina House. Everything that happened was necessary, but oh man, it was brutal.


I remember being told that I had to go to treatment. I remember going to the doctor for a weight check, and they removed my mom from the room as my doctor and nurse both confronted me, saying that even though I was 18, they were going to push extremely hard for me to go to treatment. I remember walking back out to the waiting room and telling my mom and boyfriend what they said. I remember my mom telling me that she was going to call Carolina House once we got home.

I remember going to the play at school the next day to watch my two friends make their musical theater debut. I remember sitting in the plastic chair and my boyfriend having to go get a sweatshirt from the car for me to sit on because I was so bony it hurt to sit against the hard chair. I remember going to my favorite restaurant for dinner afterwards and actually trying to eat (an attempt to prove that I wasn’t sick), but my stomach being so shrunken that I could only manage a few bites before I had intense stomach pain and nausea.

I remember texting my mom while I was at school the following Monday, continually asking if she had heard back from Carolina House yet. When she finally told me that she did, I remember immediately checking myself out from school and going home and laying in my bed, refusing to talk to anyone.

I remember freaking out that night, screaming at everyone who tried to talk to me or comfort me. I remember trying to break up with my boyfriend as a “punishment” for making me go to treatment, and I remember screaming and crying and begging my parents to let me stay home because I promised that I would eat. I remember never feeling any panic like that before and feeling like everyone hated me and just wanted to ship me off.

I remember going to school on my last day. I remember my guidance counselor calling me to her office and showing me that I had approval from all of my teachers to leave my coursework as is and not require me to do any make-up work while I was gone. I remember being pulled out of class to go take pictures in my cap and gown since I was going to miss the class picture day. I remember the looks of all my teachers, unsure of what to say, but aware that it was going to be the last time they saw me. I remember emptying my locker, and getting weird looks from classmates who didn’t know I was leaving. I remember hugging my friends goodbye in the parking lot, crying and not knowing if I’d be back for graduation.

I remember the week and a half that I was out of school before I admitted to treatment. I remember the frustration and anguish I felt each day when Carolina House called saying they had to push back my admit date another day. I remember thinking I wasn’t sick enough to go, so that’s why they kept pushing my date back. I remember laying on the couch all day every day, watching Lifetime movies while my parents were at work and all my friends were at school. I remember taking at least two naps a day because my body was so exhausted. I remember my dad coming home from work early everyday so that he could spend time with me because we had no idea how long I would be gone.

I remember doing an intake with Eating Recovery Center. I remember them telling me that they could admit me in just a few days, so I was about to book my one-way flight to Denver, Colorado. I remember my dad running upstairs to tell me that Carolina House called–they were admitting me tomorrow. I remember throwing a few last-minute things in my already packed suitcase. I remember saying bye to my dog and friends and leaving within an hour of getting the call and driving halfway to Durham.

I remember waking up in the hotel room in Greensboro the next morning. I remember trying to pick out what the best “first day of treatment” outfit was. I remember wanting to make sure that I looked thin, but not sick (lol). I remember the quiet drive to Durham. I remember not knowing what to say to my family, and thinking that the downpour outside was a good representation of my mood inside.

I remember pulling up to Carolina House. I remember heaving my heavy suitcase out onto the pebble parking lot. I remember walking up to the house, taking notice of the rocks that said “hope” and “where miracles happen” on them. I remember feeling hesitant to ring the doorbell. I remember the RPA answering the door and saying, “you must be Sarah Beth, right?”

I remember sitting on the couch, playing with a fidget toy while we waited for all the patients to go to nap time so we could get a tour of the house and fill out paperwork. I remember saying goodbye to my crying parents and boyfriend, trying to not cry with them because how dare they know I had emotions. I remember being led to the kitchen after I said goodbye, watching my family through the window as they walked back to the car and realizing that there was no longer a way out. I was in treatment.


These memories haunt me. Each day it feels like I’m almost reliving these things.

Today? Today is two years since my original admit date.

These little mini anniversaries are the weirdest thing. So much hope and despair all at the same time. But I’m holding and honoring both feelings. 

What happened two years ago was hard as hell, but it saved my life. I’m no longer in that place anymore, so I can rejoice over the mountains I’ve climbed and valleys I’ve walked through since then. But I can also mourn the girl that I was, the sickness and frailty that I made my life for so many years. I can exist in both emotions surrounding these dates.

Hope, because I am no longer there.

Despair, because I once was there.

These anniversaries are hard. I don’t know if April 25 will ever be just another day to me. But I do know that I have space between now and April of 2016. And so much beauty has happened in that space.

It’s hard to sit in memories of April. All I feel is hopelessness and pain when I think about who I was then. But I do know that May 5 is coming. May 5 is a day I can celebrate and feel good about. May 5 is a day where I know how to mask the ugly and pain with the beauty of surrender and recovery. It makes sense like that.

But it is also hard to look forward to the joy that is May 5 when I have to recognize all the hardships that led up to it. May 5, 2016 wasn’t a pretty day–I cried a lot, refused fajitas at dinner, and didn’t understand what was happening or why someone had to watch me pee or how to make friends with all the other patients. May 5 itself wasn’t glorious, but the surrender and life that came out of it make that day glorious. 

Nothing pretty came out of the days leading up to treatment. They’re just a lot of crappy feelings and memories and experiences I’d rather forget. I’d rather forget all the talks and looks and tears of my loved ones. I’d rather forget the turmoil my eating disorder was putting me through mentally. I’d rather forget the tired body that could barely do anything anymore. I’d rather forget all the doctors appointments and blood draws and weigh-ins. I’d rather forget it all.

But today I’m choosing to be thankful for those moments. They shaped me, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. They were hell, but they led to some really beautiful things.

So today I’m choosing to exist in the in-between. The memories are hard, but they are also strangely beautiful. Because I know that life is coming. True joy is coming. Hope is coming. 

What’s coming next is awesome. I’ll exist in April because I know May 5 is coming!!


Two years of recovery completely astounds me. I don’t know how we got here, but I am #BLESSED. So many ups and downs. Victories and relapses. I am thankful for the beauty and pain and glory that these past two years have been!! I’ve truly lived life for the first time ever and just WOAH how did I miss out on this for 18+ years!!!!! So much joy. Hardest journey I’ll probably ever be on, but the most worth it for sure. I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I have passion and joy and life inside of me that I never knew existed. Thankful. And strong. And so, so worthy. 

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Healing is Exhaling

521c44d8e7bad3d6c5e242e7641c1fa1Dear You,

I see you. I see you fighting to take that next breath. I know that it feels like all the wind has been knocked out of you. There’s so much pressure from the void inside your chest that it feels physically impossible to breathe. But you can.

I know that telling you that you are able to breathe doesn’t help. It’s like telling a person who’s drowning to just swim. But I want you to know that you aren’t weak. You aren’t a victim to this. You have power. You are strong. You can control so much of your story.

Whatever it is isn’t bigger than you. I know that you feel small. I know that you feel like you can’t possibly change anything. What’s the point in trying to heal if it’s always going to loom over you? I promise you, it’s not always going to be there. It doesn’t have to at least.

Small steps become a huge long road that you’ve traveled. You might just be barely shuffling your feet, but soon you’re going to look back and you’re going to be one foot, five feet, fifty feet, one mile, two miles, twenty miles from where you started. That one small step might hurt like hell and it might feel like it won’t make a difference, but soon you’ll look back and think wow, I’m glad I took that step.

You gotta heal for you. This thing that is haunting you is only affecting you. Sure, what’s hurting you has somewhat of an effect on the people around you because they care for you, but they’re not the ones waking up in a sweat from a nightmare, having a panic attack when they’re alone in the car, or leaving class early when something triggers it. They’re not affected in the same way that you are, because they are not living what you are living.

I know that you wanna heal for your best friend, your boyfriend, your family, your whoever so that they don’t worry about you. It shows so much of your heart and character that you want to care for them, but that isn’t true healing. That’s just people-pleasing. And that will be the death of you. Probably not your physical, literal death, but it’ll be the death of your real, life-altering healing. 

If you try to heal just so you can please someone else, you aren’t healing. You might feel like you are, but really, you’re just stuffing everything under the rug, placing a coffee table on top of it, and pretending that there aren’t lumps underneath. It might feel okay, but one day you’re going to go to redecorate your living room and you’re going to move that coffee table and rug and everything is going to come right back out.

Healing has to be for you. And you’re the only one who can heal yourself. Your friends can’t heal you; your therapist can’t heal you (WHAT I know isn’t that what you pay them for??). You and God are going to be the only two players on this team against the darkness. But hey, that’s more than enough. Your loved ones will be cheering you on from the sidelines, but you gotta fight this one yourself.

You’re more than capable of this. Whatever it is, someone else has fought the same battle before you. They made it through, and so will you. It won’t be easy, it probably won’t be quick, but it’ll be worth it. 

Real healing, the kind that takes time and uncomfortable effort, is glorious. It’s unlike life that you have ever known. It’s like exhaling a breath that you’ve been holding your entire life.

You can breathe again and finally just be.

This healing is yours.

It’s waiting for you.

It has your name on it.

It’ll hurt at times, but it’ll also be kind and gentle. You can go at your own pace.

Just please, begin.

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to proclaim freedom for the captives // NEDA week 2018

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“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. 🙂 

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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.

Always.

Thank you.

 

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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.”

Yes.

I miss living without a representative.

I miss simply being me,

emotions

and

all.

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.

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Recovery Q+A

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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!!!

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