To the Therapist Who Helped Me Through Eating Disorder Recovery

To my therapist,

After almost eight years of working with you, I can say we have established a pretty solid relationship. We’ve worked through so much more than just my eating disorder symptoms, and we have uncovered layers of trauma to reveal a strength I never imagined I could possess. There have been highs and lows, and I’ve lost count of how many times I think you have saved my life.

Today, during my session, we talked about my progress, and the option of coming to therapy less frequently or even stopping all together. While I consider myself stable right now, stopping is not an option. I value the time I have with you, and it is the highest form of self-care for me.

As I reflect on the year and particularly on holiday seasons of the past, I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that, for the first time ever, I won’t be relying on weekly (or even more than weekly) sessions to get me through the season. This year, I didn’t have to schedule an emergency session to figure out how I would cope with a Thanksgiving meal, and I didn’t need to have my phone with me at the dinner table in case I needed to send an SOS text. For this, and so much more, I’d like to say thank you.

Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication you have shown me through the years. There are countless examples that come to mind, but some stick out more. You listened with support when I blamed you for taking away the thing that meant the most to me, and then, you let me grieve that loss (over and over again) before helping me to see I no longer had a need for the eating disorder.

Thank you for having me set a phone alarm to text you daily when I needed encouragement to complete meals. I labeled the alarm as a “reminder that someone cares,” and though it is no longer an active alarm, I’ve kept it on my phone. Thank you for signing into Recovery Record, reading my food logs and leaving feedback. It made me try harder to “do the next right thing” because I knew there was accountability. Thank you for collecting my scales (yes, plural!), storing them safely away from me and for showing a genuine happiness whenever I had meal victories.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

For what may seem like little things (but to me, made a world of difference), thank you. From writing encouraging letters for me to save to read when I needed a boost to preemptively supporting me during holidays and transitional periods by sending a quick text, I appreciate every bit of it.

You were never afraid to promise me that I would be OK and because I trusted you more than I trusted myself, I chose to believe that. It became a reality. You relentlessly worked to help me discover my self-worth and reminded me of reasons to recover. Most of all, thank you for giving me the constant reassurance that no matter what, at the end of the day, I have a person in my corner and I’m never alone in this recovery journey. Even if 2017 means that I see you less frequently, you will continue to be the voice in my head that helps me to choose recovery every day. For this, I am forever grateful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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