A Letter to Your Healing Self

By Amy Klimek MA, LPC, Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls

When individuals leave treatment they are often asked to write a letter to themselves in recovery. As a clinician, this would be my letter to such a person:

Dear …

Your eating disorder once was considered a friend, a protector, a shield to guard you; it may have navigated your actions and narrated your thoughts. Today and each day that you choose to show up to life in a new, different way, you are breaking down the barriers that limited your growth and potential.

Whether you sought treatment yourself, or you were “strongly encouraged” to do so, is irrelevant.  You went and you showed up. Somewhere along the way, you committed yourself to recovery.

You worked hard then, and you will work hard in the days and months ahead.

The voice of the eating disorder that whispered in your ear from the minute you woke up to when you laid down to rest was infused with judgments and fear.  That voice will soften with time.  As you become more intently mindful, you will learn to listen to a new voice, a voice that may not be as loud, but a voice that will become familiar and safe.  You may still hear the whispers, the critical voice telling you to give in; the difference now is how you will respond to that voice.

Eating disorders simply do not give up without a fight.

It would be ridiculous to say just don’t pay attention to these thoughts, onhealthy lexapro since they remain convincingly real.  But here is what you can do: widen the lens of your mind. When you had an eating disorder, the lens with which you observed the world was very narrow; now it is time to expand that lens, inviting new possibilities into your awareness. In the midst of terrible thoughts, it is possible to create additional space for new observations, perspectives and experiences. While mindfully noticing the critical thoughts, you can still mindfully notice the recovery thoughts, the ones that help you to show up to recovery each day.

This is not a battle to fight alone.  You need supportive people around you; you need a community of family and friends to turn to for help – an army of encouragement and validation. Don’t give excuses why your recovery isn’t working. Instead, give reasons why it is. Give space and attention to change.

It is natural to gravitate to what was known as familiar and comfortable.  With time you will recognize recovery as your own.

Here is all that truly matters: right now. Although who you are today is a culmination of previous events and experiences, the past is absolutely gone.  It cannot and should not be revisited. The future has yet to happen; the choices you make today can help the possibilities for tomorrow.  The present — where you are, what you are doing, right now – is what matters. Living one day, one thought, and one breath at a time.

Sincerely,

Someone who cares for you