If You Can't See the Light at the End of Your ED Recovery Tunnel, Look for This Instead

One of the most frustrating things about recovery is that it’s really, really hard to throw yourself full force into the exact opposite mindset and lifestyle as what you’re used to. Once you’re there, it’s even harder to stay there.

Blog post after blog post after Pinterest quote after Pinterest quote tells you when you’re struggling, you must keep going anyway. They tell you in recovery you can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel but you must push forward anyway. And they’re right — push forward, but not because you’re waiting for some light. The light is now. The light is all around you.

The light is my friend, who laid with me on my bed at three in the morning and let me complain to her that I still had calories left to eat today, even though “today” ended three hours ago.

The light is snow that’s fluffy and delicate and still inexplicably strong.

The light is my friend’s mom whom I had never met, but who offered me support when I was down.

The light is hot chocolate with my mom while watching sappy Christmas movies.

The light is the boy from my team who asked me to look at him, who called me by name, who asked me to believe it wasn’t my fault we lost.

The light is my dog, who always finds something to smile about.

The light is an email from dad telling me he loves me.

The light is the guy who let me make a left turn during rush hour.

The light is finding a song that speaks to you.

The light is being homesick because it means you have a home.

The light is when an anxiety attack is over and you can breathe.

The light is my sister, who has seen every part of me and still loves me exactly as I am.

When I struggle in recovery, I don’t wait for the mysterious light at the end of the tunnel; I look for the light around me. It is everywhere, and it is beautiful. Put your faith and hope in that.

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.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Eating Disorders

Opened magic book with magic lights

'I Am a Library and You Are Too': The Insight I Gained in Eating Disorder Recovery

For a highly intelligent woman, I have made some awful decisions. I treated myself with a complete lack of respect and love that almost led to my demise. There is no easy way to say what I’m going to say, so forgive my bluntness. I had anorexia for seven years. From ages 12 to 19, I [...]
woman walking down a tunnel towards the light

I Found Recovery From My Eating Disorder, but First, All I Felt Was Sadness

In the depths of my eating disorder, I couldn’t imagine life without it. It was my lifeline, my constant companion. The first program I entered was an outpatient one at the request of my doctor, and I reluctantly attended to make the people in my life happy. I said what I had to, to get [...]
Contributor Cozy photo

There Are No More 'Good' and 'Bad' Days in My Eating Disorder Recovery

Holden smiled at me when I got to the dining hall and hovered slightly behind while I selected nourishment. I’d appreciated he was so quick to answer my text about needing an eating buddy, but desired some alone time while picking the tools of my soon-to-be surrender. It was going to be a bad day. [...]
Watercolor sketch of a girl with red hair

When Your Childhood Memories Are in a Pile of Doctor’s Notes

As a child, I used to cut my own hair. If you look at the photographs taken on my very first flip phone — amongst the chunks of too big pixels — you’ll see I embraced all the great beauty trends of the 2000s. Chalky, sky blue eyeshadow, concealer-smothered lips and a thin sprinkling of [...]