6 years of battling this and for 2 years everyone thought I was in recovery. I even had myself fooled for that matter. I knew I was acting in my eating disorder behaviors but I had every intention of being recovered so I truly believed I was in recovery. That’s the sad part of this, the purging never stopped, the restricting only got worse, and the laxative abuse only became more and more addicting. The thoughts grew heavier and heavier everyday. Second by second even.

The first thing I heard going into treatment was from my psychiatrist who said ” healing isn’t in the hands of the staff here but in the hands of Jesus.” I knew at that moment that I was right where I needed to be. That God had called me here for a reason bigger than I could ever imagine. I had no idea then but looking back, I’m in complete awe of this experience.

I learned so much about the eating disorder and how to distinguish my voice and the eating disorders. The eating disorder is like an abusive boyfriend. He manipulates you into believing all these lies about you to get what he wants. You obey him and listen to him because you truly believe that you are nothing without him. I put my identity in him for so long because I believed Rylee wasn’t Rylee without him. What I’ve discovered is the opposite. Rylee without the eating disorder is the Rylee I’ve ever dreamed of being.

The hardest part was finding the balance between food because food was the enemy for 6 years. We eat 6 times a day and we are on a very detailed ,personal, and specific meal plan. The meal plan is key to recovery. If you don’t stick to the meal plan then you will NOT be in recovery. It is the most important thing. This is hard for me because I went from eating 2 times a day to 6 times a day.

Something they always say there is that you may not be able to change the thoughts but you can change your behaviors. Eventually if you change your behaviors the thoughts will follow. This is how you fight the eating disorder. You do the opposite of what he tells you.

For example, when the eating disorder tells me to not eat lunch because I’m going to gain weight. I do the opposite and I eat lunch. The shame of eating is still there and the thought and fear of gaining weight is still haunting in that moment but I didn’t listen to the eating disorder and I didn’t act in that behavior & that is empowering to me.

You see, for 6 years the eating disorder made me feel empowered and in control of my body but I was never in control. The eating disorder had control over me. What’s empowering to me now is when I say no to the eating disorder. When I choose to eat even if I feel fat that day. When I choose to not purge even if I just ate a full meal that I would have never done before. That’s empowering!!

I could go on and on about all that I learned but my favorite thing from treatment was the life long best friends I have now. Being able to share in the same fears, insecurities, and pain with others was so comforting. We all were bound by the same ugly and nasty disorder and because of that we all bonded in such a beautiful way. These girls are more than my friends they are my recovery sisters. I will always need these amazing women because we are all in this journey together.

For 6 years I tortured and abused my body to fit an image that it was never designed to fit. That’s the beautiful but hardest thing of recovery. Accepting my body will take time and maybe years but it deserves respect and love and that’s exactly what I’m learning to give it.

Everyday brings something new. Everyday brings a new struggle or sometimes the same one but everyday I get to celebrate a victory. Whether it’s the fact that I got through 6 meals without crying that day (sounds dramatic but is so true lol) or maybe it’s the fact that I had a dessert challenge and didn’t feel overwhelmingly fat. I will celebrate every tiny victory because they may seem normal to others but they are one step closer to being what I’ve always desired to be and that’s being free from this.

Recovery is a life long journey but I believe in my heart that I will be completely free from this one day. I know I will!

Stand up against the enemy. Stand up against your disorder, disease, addiction, struggles, pain, insecurity, doubt, and walk in all of His victory!!