Friday, May 3, 2013

Finding Strength in Struggle

Yesterday I went back to my old treatment center as a guest speaker for the second time since being discharged last fall. The first time I was so nervous and questioning whether or not I was far along in recovery to even be there, that it was difficult to recognize the importance of that moment. This time around, however, it was a completely different experience.

As we were wrapping up the first of two groups that I spoke with, one of the therapists mentioned that she saw a new level of acceptance in me. She pointed out that I still have my struggles and have not been perfect in recovery, but that is not stopping my progress. Sometimes the only way to make progress is to struggle and I have allowed myself to accept that.

I saw this quote a few days ago and thought it was a perfect reminder for all of the patients I spoke with yesterday (and anyone else in a place of struggle). Being in treatment can feel like the most awful, never-ending experience imaginable, but it really is the first place I began to find strength in my struggles.

"It is okay to be at a place of struggle.
Struggle is just another word for growth.
Even the most evolved beings
find themselves in a place of struggle now and then.
In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding;
it is their indication of real and important progress.
The only one who doesn’t struggle is the one who doesn’t grow.
So if you are struggling right now,
see it as a terrific sign —
celebrate your struggle."

Struggling is nothing to be ashamed of. One thing that is always helpful for me to remember during difficult times is that whatever I am feeling is just a feeling and it will pass. Recovery brings out all of the uncomfortable emotions we have been numbing out for the duration of our eating disorder. So it's important to remember that no matter what negative emotion I might be feeling, it's still a sign of progress because I am allowing myself to FEEL. No more numbing out. And each time I allow myself to sit with those uncomfortable emotions, it gets a tiny bit easier to deal with.

As I got off the highway and pulled into the town where I was forced to finally face all of my struggles last summer in treatment, I was overwhelmed with a wide range of emotions. The first time I went down to guest speak, being back in that environment made me feel like that terrified little girl who was being forced to face my struggles almost exactly one year ago. This time around, on the other hand, I have not only reached a level of acceptance, but I also find myself feeling grateful to have had the opportunity to face my past struggles.

 My life in recovery is nowhere near perfect, but without struggling a little here and there, I would have never found my strength.



  1. Shun not the struggle, face it. Tis God's gift.

  2. Kelsi I love reading this blog. We have not had the same journey but I feel so completely connected to you because it seems every time you blog you are telling me something I so needed to hear. I'm so glad that you were brave enough to share your struggles with us. <3

    1. Thank you so much Kelli! I think a lot of the underlying issues of eating disorders and all other mental health disorders (or personal struggles in general) have a lot of the same underlying issues, making them easy to relate to. I'm still up for that cup of coffee we have been planning for months now ;)

  3. I am so glad that you continue being in recovery. I need you, because I can't do it alone. If you start to walk your recovery road, you already have something to offer from the day 1. I have been told that I struggle until I surrender, and that is a process of recovery. It is a sign of our desires. Congratulations on many successes in your life, exams, speaking and etc. xoxo

    1. I don't think any of us can do it alone and that is the beauty of having a support system. I hope you realize that YOU also have something to offer and be proud of because you have made the decision to start your own recovery journey. Sending you lots of love! <3

  4. Sobbing mess of joyous happy, tears over here! I am so, so, SOOO proud of you Kelsi Belle! Your struggles not only give you a chance to expand, they give you a chance to appreciate the moments when you're not struggling. You have come such a long way in almost a year and I am so incredibly proud of you, blessed to be part of your journey, touched by your words, and grateful to have you in my life. Keep on progressing, because I think we both know you can! <3 Love ya darlin'! xoxo

    1. Ahhhh I love it when people call me Kelsi Belle! :) Thanks for such a lovely comment Miss Kenzie! xoxo

  5. Hi Kelsi,

    I've been reading your blog for a couple months now, and I just want to say how truly amazing I think you are! As someone who is also in recovery from an eating disorder, I find your posts so thoughtful and insightful. You make a really good point in this post about struggle being a sign of growth. I also believe that we can feel empowered and grow stronger by being able to overcome our struggles. It's so wonderful that you are using your own experiences to inspire and encourage people, both through this blog and by speaking at your treatment center. I hope to be able to do the same someday.

    Congratulations on your success in recovery so far, and may you continue to progress forwards. I see only bright things in your future :)

    1. What a lovely comment. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words. I think the biggest thing for me in recovery has been just to remind myself that I'm not going to be perfect and to learn from my mistakes. I'm glad you've enjoyed reading. Best of luck to you in your recovery! Keep fighting, it's totally worth it! :)