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10 Lessons I Learnt Last Year

1. Comparison really is the thief of joy. There will always be someone who you think is more interesting, more beautiful, or more talented than you, but comparing will get you nowhere. It will just make feel rubbish. Remember that nobody ever really sees themselves as they truly are, and the people you think are perfect are sure to have their own insecurities.

2. Mistakes and lapses may knock you back, but they can never knock you down. Everything is a learning curve, especially in recovery, when it can feel like you are literally learning to live again. Instead of beating yourself up, try to balance every negative action out with a positive one, like a missed meal with an extra snack or a critical thought with a compassionate one.

3. Everyone has weird ways with food. It can be hard recovering in a society as diet-obsessed as ours, and near impossible finishing a meal while the person next to you goes on about their latest fad. But just remind yourself: that is not for me. What other people do doesn’t need to affect you. You have the strength to simply rise above it.

4. It’s okay to enjoy food. Really. It’s just one tiny part of life, and its okay to let yourself find pleasure in eating.

5. FOMO is real – as is FOGO (fear of going out). Sometimes it’s good to push yourself to get out there, meet new people and experience new things. But just because you want to go doesn’t mean it’s easy. Socialising can be really hard, and sometimes it’s best to hunker down and enjoy some alone time.

6. Everything feels impossible until it’s done. Eating, talking, sharing, healing. Starting a new job, moving schools, graduating from university. You think you’ll never be able to achieve anything, until one day you look back and see that you’ve achieved it all.

7. Your value is not rooted in what you do, but who are you are. It doesn’t matter what grades you get or how much money you earn. You don’t have to be successful to be worthy. You matter because of the love you give out to the world and the joy you bring to others.

8. Sharing your story is one of the most powerful and empowering things you can do. Whether you’re talking to loved ones or strangers, sharing what you are overcoming or have overcome will always inspire someone and show you just how much you have to be proud of.

9. It’s okay to allow yourself to be vulnerable. In fact, it’s really important. It can feel so much safer and easier to stay guarded and keep your walls up, but real connection comes when you open up and let others in.

10. Recovery is not linear. The age-old saying, but it really is true. As much as we wish it was, overcoming something as all-consuming as an eating disorder is never going to be straightforward. But however many ups and downs you experience along the way, it’s always better and braver than not trying at all.  

Contributed by Laura