Why Reclaiming Your Voice is an Important Part of Recovery

When I fell into an eating disorder, I lost a lot more than just weight. Without even realizing it, I lost my voice. Unaware, I stopped speaking my own truth.

How did I lose my own voice?

I often wonder what happened. Perhaps in my efforts to shrink my body, I swallowed my opinions instead of food. Maybe because my mouth was clenched so tightly trying to prevent calories from slipping in, it also kept my words from coming out. Perhaps because I was so hyper-focused on making myself disappear, I didn’t even notice I was afraid of the sound of my own voice.

Or maybe I have it all backward. What if I was so afraid of expressing myself that I focused instead on becoming as small as possible. Sort of like the chicken and the egg,

I’m not sure which came first…. the eating disorder or my silence.

Whatever the reason, for years I swallowed my voice instead of food. Stuck in a world engulfed by anorexia and bulimia, I focused on only saying what I thought others around me wanted to hear and I kept the rest to myself.

I locked away my own voice.

I locked my inner thoughts, opinions, and feelings so deep inside that even I lost touch with what they were. When you numb out your body and feelings with years of starvation, denial, punishing exercising, and purging, it is astounding what you can blindly bury. Sure, I was not outrightly deceiving those around me.

The person most betrayed was myself. 

Finding my voice.

But today, I am different. Today I am in recovery. No longer fighting every single moment for each tiny step forward, I have gained my life back (along with some weight). Recovery has brought many unexpected gifts my way, but one of the biggest surprises has nothing to do with food or my body size. 

Today, in recovery, it is getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut.  

So, if you ask for my opinion, expect to actually get it. If I answer “No,” to a request, do not look for an explanation or apology. I have given myself permission to say “no” without either. Taking care of myself is a priority because I finally understand in my bones that I am of no use to myself, my family, or this universe if I am not well. And I spent much too long being unwell.

It is amazing how nourishing your body and brain can bring you back to life.

Fully fed, I am now passionate about life, my opinions, my loved ones, and the human spirit. Unable to bite back my anger, I use my voice to speak out about injustices such as racism, fatphobia, and the lies of diet culture. I am no longer suffering and my goal in life is to help others break free and thrive alongside me. So join me, please, on this journey back to becoming the person you were always meant to be. Just don’t expect me to keep my mouth closed along the way.  

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