Holidays, Hope and Healing From an Eating Disorder

Article contributed by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC and Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC.

“It takes darkness to be aware of the light” – Treasure Tatum

While the holiday season glistens with the merriment of loved ones and celebration, many individuals may experience this time of year with an overwhelming burden of an eating disorder.  Attempting to live life with an eating disorder is a painful experience, with challenges that slowly erase any trace of joy that may have once been known.  If you or a loved one has been struggling with an eating disorder, you can likely relate to the emptiness that is felt as you watch life pass by you.  In the chasm and numbness of an eating disorder, it can be difficult to even recall how life may have once been lived in freedom, thriving in moments of joy and happiness.

During a time of year where anticipation abounds, you may have lost reason for hope in the anguish of your own battles.  Know that you are not alone in your struggles, uncertainties or pain.  Eating disorders often contrast the truth, spewing lies that would make you believe that you are not good enough, that you are not acceptable or worthy or lovable, or that your life is beyond saving.   Even in the darkest shadows of despair, hope abounds still.  Regardless of the past roads you may have been on, you are worthy of a future that does not involve an eating disorder.  You are deserving of a life in which you can thrive to your fullest potential, unhindered by the vicious cycle of an eating disorder.

Perhaps this holiday season, the gift you have been anticipating will not come neatly wrapped in a pretty parcel.  Though the recovery journey from an eating disorder is indeed a challenging and difficult road, it is a gateway towards freedom from the troubles that have burdened you.  Recovery is a choice that requires action.  You have the ability to give yourself the greatest gift – a renewed chance to gain your life back, to restore yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically, to have the opportunity to experience precious moments you may have been missing.  The gift of recovery is awaiting you today – you only need to reach out for it.

How can you begin your journey in recovery?  Start by taking the first step and asking for the help you need.  Eating disorders are complex diseases that often require the assistance of professionals to overcome.  Though it may be difficult to reach out for help and admit your struggles, remind yourself of the invaluable gift you are giving yourself in the process.  Eating disorders are powerful, and having a team of people behind you that love and support you will give you the strength to overcome.  If you are unsure of where to turn to for help, start by confiding in someone you trust – perhaps a loved one, close friend, mentor or counselor.  Eating Disorder Hope also offers several resources, such as our Treatment Directory and Support Group Page, which can assist you in getting connected to the help you need to start your recovery journey.

Life need no longer pass by you by unnoticed while lost in an all-consuming eating disorder.  You can begin life anew today simply by choosing to accept one of the greatest gifts you might ever receive.  While it may feel terrifying to separate yourself from your eating disorder after any length of time, finding your true self and experiencing life unrestricted will leave you with far more joy and happiness than you ever thought possible.


Page Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on
December 20, 2013
Published on, Eating Disorder Resources for Information and Treatment