I Am Grateful for the Lessons of My Eating Disorder

November 21, 2023 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

My eating disorder lessons actually make me feel grateful. Gratitude is a recurring theme that defines the entire holiday season. In fact, this value is thrown around so often in the frenetic build-up to each new year that it's easy to overlook just how powerful gratitude is. When I strip away all those cliché axioms and intentionally reflect on what it means to be thankful, I'm humbled by the sheer amount of blessings in my life. But then, as I lean deeper into self-reflection, I feel a curious swell of gratitude in an area I would normally least expect. This year, I am grateful for the lessons of my eating disorder.

Here's Why I Am Grateful for the Lessons of My Eating Disorder

As counterintuitive as this might sound, I know in my soul that I wouldn't be the person I am today without the experience of an eating disorder in my rearview mirror. I do mourn the years of lost opportunities, crushing loneliness, broken relationships, and overwhelming fear. But I also would not trade a single part of my own suffering. Had I not been faced with a choice to either do the scary work of healing or remain in my miserable but comfortable illness, I might have missed out on the surprising beauty that arose from rock bottom.

While I'm not in any rush to relive those rock-bottom nosedives, I am still grateful for the lessons of my eating disorder because I have seen firsthand that pain is a wise and valuable teacher. I could not envision myself without an eating disorder until the relentless grind of life with an eating disorder hurt too much to bear. This watershed moment taught me how to feel hope once again—hope in a future where joy seemed attainable and fear no longer kept me small. 

Eating disorder recovery was no simple feat. I wanted to throw my hands up in surrender countless times during this journey. But now, on the other side of healing, each second that I'm alive, healthy, strong, resilient, and passionate is a reminder of just how many reasons I have to be thankful. And that's why I am grateful for the lessons of my eating disorder. 

Are You Grateful for the Lessons of Your Eating Disorder?    

As you reflect on gratitude over the course of this holiday season, what comes to mind? Are you grateful for the lessons of an eating disorder in your own life? Does this concept resonate with you at all, or does it seem foreign to look for beauty in the midst of pain? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please share in the comment section below. 

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2023, November 21). I Am Grateful for the Lessons of My Eating Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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