advertisement

Identity

Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
What does Pride Month mean to me in eating disorder recovery? That's a question I have explored intently during the past year. This is a vulnerable article for me to write because I have not spoken about it publicly until now, and it requires putting myself out there in a raw, exposed way. But since I am passionate about destigmatization—both in mental health and other sociocultural spheres—I think it could be meaningful to share this facet of my own personal identity, which has also become central to my eating disorder recovery.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
One frequent trap I fall into when I become too complacent in eating disorder recovery is an urge to romanticize the past. I reflect on all those years I was consumed by anorexia with a kind of nostalgia that whispers, "Remember how in control you felt back then? Remember the rush of satisfaction that came each time you skipped a meal? Remember the sense of power that intensified with each mile you ran on the treadmill? Remember how proud you were to have a small, narrow body? Don't you want to feel like this again?"
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Let's talk about quasi-eating disorder recovery. This is by no means a term I invented, but it is a state of being I am acutely familiar with. I have experienced it myself, and I have seen it manifest in other people who are on healing journeys as well.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
When I reflect on some of the bravest people I know, those who are in eating disorder recovery often come to mind. That's because the pursuit of eating disorder recovery is courageous. It can be scary to take the steps into a new way of life apart from this illness, but the decision to move toward healing is also incredibly brave.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Over the past few months, my therapist and I have been talking about the power of choice in eating disorder recovery. I often think about this concept outside of therapy sessions too because it is so instrumental in my road to healing.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
When it comes to my own mental health and eating disorder recovery, a lack of joy is one of the main indicators that I am not in a stable headspace. As I have learned, an eating disorder is a thief of joy, so when I feel overwhelmed by chaos and unable to see pockets of joy, it's a sign that I need to recalibrate.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
If you live confined within a scarcity mindset, then be warned: this mentality can—and often does—turn into an eating disorder. The term scarcity mindset refers to a belief that you do not deserve abundance and lack a sense of personal worth, so you act out of self-denial instead of nourishment and freedom. This can lead to dangerous behaviors, such as caloric restriction in an effort to deprive or discipline yourself, which could become a full-blown eating disorder over time. A scarcity mindset is detrimental to your healing, but it can be overcome in eating disorder recovery.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
I know firsthand just how much of a challenge it can be to prioritize eating disorder recovery this time of year—or even in general, for that matter. So if your commitment to healing is wavering at the moment, I want to share with you five reasons why I believe that eating disorder recovery is worth it. This is not to minimize the pain or turmoil you might feel, but I do hope the list below inspires and encourages you to continue on the path to reclaiming a healthy, empowered life. Eating disorder recovery is no simple feat, but I can tell you from experience, the outcome is so worth it.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Last week in a counseling session, my therapist issued me an assignment: Write a "dear body" letter to myself. In the past, I have done similar exercises, like the goodbye letter I wrote to my eating disorder in 2018. But this undertaking feels much different.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Just recently, I noticed something beautiful unfold within me: eating disorder recovery taught me to love my inner child after decades of rejecting her. This did not materialize overnight, but now it feels like coming home to a version of me who remembers a time before anorexia first lurked onto the scene.