21 Things I Learned in Year 21

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What up, hello!! My 21st birthday is in a couple days, and I am SO. HYPE. This year has been a wild one–a lot of sweet moments, but also probably one of the worst years of my life. But that’s okay! I’ve learned and I’ve grown a lot a lot a lot, so I’m thankful for the hard because it has made me better. I’m not all the way there, but I’m working on it!! I’m so ready to leave this year behind, but I also don’t want to forget all that has happened and how it has changed me. So here’s some of my top lessons I’ve learned this year that have hardcore challenged me and broke me and healed me and ultimately changed my life for the better:


  1. Write down what’s good. It’ll be an anchor for when things are bad.
  2. The darkness doesn’t last forever–no matter how bad it is, it always goes away. Maybe in 24 hours, maybe in a few months. But it always leaves.
  3. Certain seasons can hurt so bad, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not necessary.
  4. I literally have no idea who I would be without the color yellow.
  5. Sometimes you have to fight a battle again, but that says nothing about your victory the first time around.
  6. When people show you how they feel, trust them.
  7. Traveling won’t cure everything (or anything, really), but it’ll make things feel better for a few days, and that is so worth it.
  8. The mess and the healing can happen at the same time.
  9. Believe that people like you. It’ll make the whole friendship thing easier.
  10. It is SO COOL when you can look in the mirror and finally say for the first time, “wow, God, you really did good on me.”
  11. Political involvement is cool. (!!!)
  12. Let the hard things grow you, not destroy you.
  13. Do not be ashamed of the things you had to do to survive.
  14. Maybe don’t suppress things for 15 years because when you finally try to deal with it you kinda lose your crap for a hot second and end up in the psych hospital.
  15. Loving people hard is the most important thing you can do, even if sometimes it comes back to bite you in the butt.
  16. You have everything you need within yourselfdon’t try to find yourself within someone else.
  17. Freedom living still has messy times with slip-ups. The slip-ups don’t define your freedom. What you do after them does.
  18. Abandoning and betraying yourself is the worst thing you could do for your own wellbeing and healing.
  19. Invest yourself in new people.
  20. Someone’s inability to love you says nothing about who you are as a person or your worthiness to be loved.
  21. Loss is so so painful, but sometimes it is exactly what you need.

Also, to celebrate the end of an age and the beginning of a new one, here’s some of my fav pics from the past year. 21, I am so ready for 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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My 2017 Saving Graces

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I don’t know how we’re already at the end of 2017, but here we are. And I am so thankful for that, because man, 2017 has been one heck of a year and I am ready to leave it all behind. Trust me, I know the clock striking midnight on December 31 isn’t as momentous as we make it seem–nothing actually changes unless we make the change. But it’s nice to have the clean slate and fresh start. And I am so. dang. ready. for that.

While reflecting back on the year, I really kept thinking of my saving graces that kept me sane, happy, healthy, and alive. They range from the smallest of things such as blog posts and songs all the way up to people in my life and moments that I lived. So many things in 2017 that reminded me stay here. you got this. we’ll make it through. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite saving graces from the year. There have been so, so many, but this is just a small handful that leave me saying YES YES YES every time I read/listen to/hang out with/remember them.

Blog Posts

“Good Morning Baltimore”–Hannah Brencher — Forever and always my favorite blog post. I seriously go back and read it at least once a week. I hang onto the hope that it offers when I can’t see an end in sight. So. Good.

“What I Do Know”–TWLOHA — “I’m not sure how it all started”–something I feel like I’ve said a thousand times the past few months. “I was choosing to believe I mattered enough to do the work that had to follow, even if those upcoming years looked daunting, even if the waves around me were more terrifying than ever before—those scary things meant I had hope. … I was taking healing into my own hands because I deserved it. It’s OK that I can’t remember, it’s OK that I’m unsure of how it all started. Because I do know how my healing started. It began with a decision to stay.”

“The Pain is the Price of Admission”–TWLOHA — “The pain comes with the joy. It’s the labor before the birth. The night before the dawn. The storm that soaks the soil before the bloom. You can’t let one in without the other either, I know. … You can’t run away from the pain and live. The pain is as much a part of the process as the joy is. They are not opposites, not even close: The pain is just the other side of the same life coin.”

“This Is Survival”–Aly Raisman — Blog post written by Aly Raisman about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her Olympic doctor. At the end of her post she shares her victim statement that she wrote for her abuser’s sentencing hearing. Powerful as heck.

“Promise Me Tomorrow”–TWLOHA — “Tomorrow is a place where we can figure out a better way to cope with living and tomorrow is a place where, one day, we won’t be coping – we’ll be living.”

People

Peggy + Lindsay–literally never underestimate the relationships you have with your freshman year RA(s). Peggy and Lindsay have been literal gold to me this year, and I am forever thankful. It takes some pretty special people to drop life just to bring you Panera when things are hard. Thanks for always answering my texts, phone calls, FaceTimes, and for letting me crash in Elam. I love y’all more than words can explain! (Also, Peggy, we have no pictures together. What the heck.)

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CH girlies always and forever!!–Mere, Kristin, Mandy, wow. I will never get over the friendship that I have in y’all. Thank you for keeping me grounded and for always inspiring me to walk out the freedom that I found with y’all!

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Lauren–my go-to, always and forever. Roomie bff. Yes. I love you. Always. Thanks for always answering my FaceTime calls when I’m sobbing and making jokes about whatever I’m crying about (that most people would find offensive but I love because they make me laugh). Thank you for always pulling me out of my head, even from a gazillion miles away.

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Kayley + Andrew + John–the most present, hands-on people in my life this semester. What a ride. But literally would not have been able to do it without y’all. Thank you. (Also, no picture of the four of us exists??)

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Michael + Amari–thankful for people that keep you grounded and laughing in even the most unfortunate circumstances. Let’s never go back, but thankful to have met y’all. Thanks for the jokes and coloring and… well that’s pretty much all we did, so thanks for the jokes and coloring!

Songs

Moments

Spring Break in CT–I said it a lot while I was there, but I was hardcore living my happy life up in New England. The blizzard, the rocky beaches, the roomie bffs reunited… it was all too good.

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One Year in Recovery!!–one year killing it in recovery from anorexia. Need I say more?

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Nannying Wyatt–honestly the highlight of my life. Nannying Wyatt was my greatest joy from summer 2017. SO. MUCH. HAPPINESS.

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Chrysalis–Chrysalis is always a highlight. Jesus is so present in that community of people. I am always grateful for a weekend that leaves me completely undone by the Holy Spirit and completely filled to the brim with Jesus joy. I always leave the weekend full of spiritual rest (def not physical rest) and with new eyes to see what the Lord is doing in my current season of life.

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Carolina House Alumni Retreat–what a blessing. Words cannot describe how it felt to be back at the place that saved my life with the people that my life was saved with. And finally getting to hug and meet McCall… best thing ever.

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Glennon Doyle!–I GOT TO MEET AND HUG MY (S)HERO AND I CRIED SO MUCH. Thanks for teaching me how to always show up and be brave and for always reminding me that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!!

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NYC–honestly the calm before the storm of the end of the semester. Thanks, Jesus, for that one.

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All the Car Rides with Kay–loud music somehow makes all the broken pieces feel together. #blessed

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Etc.

Pinterest Quotes

“Home” by Rupi Kaur

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#MeToo

Peace out, 2017. I am SO ready for you, 2018!!!

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Be Your Best Self

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WOW, hello!! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been absent from this little space of the internet for a couple months now. It’s been a whirlwind since coming back to school, starting a new job, getting a new treatment team, and just simply trying to settle back into a new semester. I definitely hit the ground running, but I also finally fell flat on my face.

It’s been a BUSY semester. On my busiest day of the week, I leave my dorm at 7am for Dwell fam breakfast (shoutout to the highlight of my week!), and don’t return to my dorm until 8 o’clock that night after work (well, I return to my room once during the day to change into long pants for my forensic science lab, but spending three minutes in my room doesn’t really count). So easy to say, it. has. been. crazy.

At first I was thriving. Seriously. I loved having a planner that looked like an [organized] hot mess and had writing on every line. I liked staying busy. BUT I’m 10000% an introvert. I have to have alone time quite often, or I’m not my best functioning self. So the joys of feeling productive + busy 24/7 quickly faded, and I was left feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and just not in love with life anymore.

Finally, after a week of sobbing almost everyday, I realized that I wasn’t being my best self and that I needed to fix that. Being my best self means that I’m being the best version of myself possible. I have to be actively pursuing myself so that my glass can be filled up enough so that I can continue to pour into others.

So. How have I chosen to actively pursue myself? There are a few things that I have intentionally decided to do in order to be my best self. These are things I have simply decided to do for me. I’m not saying that they’re gospel or that it’s what you need to do to be your best self. Find what you need to do and chase after it. 

Quit the job.

If you know me, you know that I have been working a ton as a nanny this semester. Unfortunately, the job was leaving me feeling more drained than filled, and I realized that it has been weeks since I last actually hung out with my friends or boyfriend. As a college student, my job shouldn’t be taking over my life, so my support system thankfully encouraged me to turn in my two week notice.

Delete your Snapchat.

Or Instagram. Or Twitter. Or all of the above. For me, I found that Snapchat was such a negative resource. Most of my Snapchats between friends and me consisted of us complaining about things, which just isn’t cool. So I decided to peace out of that extra source of negativity, because nobody got time for that. Yeah, I miss out on funny stories and seeing what my friends are doing, but if I really wanna know what’s going on in their lives, I need to reach out to them personally instead of waiting for them to update their Snapchat story.

Wear that yellow.

Honestly, I don’t have much to add to this. We all know that I’m obsessed with the color yellow. But my day gets at least 10x happier when I’m wearing something yellow, so I’m trying to be much more intentional about wearing my yellow items of clothing because sometimes my mood just needs a lil bit of extra sunshine.

Buy those pastel highlighters.

If it makes you happy, go for it. I found pastel highlighters in a random Buzzfeed article last week and they just came in the mail today and I am SO stoked about them. Pursue you, gf, even when it means sometimes spending money on silly little things that make you happy.

Create all the things.

Literally my biggest piece of advice. CREATE. I am the most free and at peace when I’m doing something creative, whether it be blogging or painting or crocheting or whatever. You don’t have to be good at it. It can be a complete mess. But just do it. I’m sure there’s some scientific fact somewhere that says creating makes you be a better person. And I’d back that fact up 100000%.

Basically, PURSUE YOU. It’s only been a few days since I’ve decided to intentionally start pursuing myself again, and it’s already the best. I already feel more like me and I’m definitely falling back in love with life again. This life thing is hard, y’all, so be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time and space. Learn how to be your best self, because not only will everyone around you thank you for it, you’ll really thank yourself for it.

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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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