Each Person's Eating Disorder Recovery Is Unique - Be True To Who You Are

June 3, 2011 Angela E. Gambrel

My therapist said to me today, "This is your recovery."

Each person is unique, and that includes people with eating disorders. There may be a checklist of symptoms, but how an eating disorder manifests itself in each person is different. It is logical that each person's recovery process from an eating disorder also would be unique.

Then why do I find I compare myself to others in recovery and often feel I come up lacking?be-true-to-who-you-areMy road to recovery has had many twists and turns since I first started seeing my eating disorders psychiatrist in August 2008. Recovery definitely has not been a linear line. I did not start seeing my ED psychiatrist and immediately became sold on the idea of recovery from anorexia. I would gain some insight and a few pounds, only to balk and start restricting again. I would get so far before it became impossible for me to eat normally.

The hardest part is I became consumed by anxiety. Everything caused me anxiety and this made both recovery and life difficult.

I often read about how other people with anorexia recovered from anorexia, and I always feel they are so much better at recovery than I am. They are more confident. More spiritual. More in tune with their bodies. More free of the ED thoughts, and completely on board with recovery with no expressed doubts ever. They also are less anxious. Less depressed. Less likely to experience the roller coaster of emotions that still seem to plague me.

Anorexia and other eating disorders are competitive by nature. I remember during my numerous hospitalizations that me and my fellow patients would often compare our lowest weights and the tricks we used in our eating disorders. I had one fellow patient express jealousy that I was on a feeding tube and she wasn't, because that obviously meant I was sicker than she. Eating disorders do not always bring out a person's best traits.

However, I didn't expect to feel this competitiveness in recovery. But I do.

Then I think about my psychiatrist's words. This is my recovery. I need to remember that each one of us is unique, and that includes myself. I need to remember that the end goal is health, and that I am not doing too badly.

Finally, I need to remember that what makes me unique in recovery is what make me special in life. I want to rediscover who I am, and the things I learn during my recovery will contribute to the woman I am becoming.

I will leave you with this quote from that wise and wonderful writer, Dr. Seuss: "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is nobody alive who is Youer than You."

APA Reference
Gambrel, A. (2011, June 3). Each Person's Eating Disorder Recovery Is Unique - Be True To Who You Are, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Angela E. Gambrel

Angela E. Gambrel Lackey
June, 6 2011 at 4:41 pm

Take it one step at a time. I also often get overwhelmed when I am faced with too many things to do, including recovery. Remember the strong feeling today and use it to help you in the future.
Therapy also can help. Any eating disorder - whether anorexia or binge eating - is an attempt to deal with feelings and emotions that are too strong.
The first step is knowing you have a problem. The second step is finding someone to help you. Then you move forward.
I wish you well.

June, 6 2011 at 8:42 am

I am 47 years old and have 3 lovely grandchildren that I want to be around for a long time ! Just in the last couple of day's I have realized that I have a problem with overeating and I am overwelmed with what decisions to make to a recovery. Been reading a lot of stuff on the internet (which is overwelming also)and found this website.Today I feel strong and in control but already worried about tomorrows temptations.

June, 4 2011 at 8:42 am

I have what I guess you could call the opposite eating disorder, compulsive overeating. I really can relate to what you are saying however. Everytime I see a weight watchers or Jenny Craig add and the person is now thin and gorgeous I feel like a failure. I can also remember a time when a friend and I were keeping track of how many cookies each of us had eaten. If one of us ate 4 then it was ok for the other to eat 4 also.

Leave a reply