Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that can manifest in many ways, and everyone’s experience with them is unique. Talking about our experiences can help reduce mental health stigma and create more opportunities for people to seek support.

By: Tori Barkosky

By sharing our stories, we can inspire others to seek help and remind them that they are not alone. Furthermore, discussing our experiences can help increase awareness and promote a better understanding. Encouraging open and honest conversations about mental health and eating disorders is essential to foster a more supportive and empathetic community.

Below is one person’s experience of an eating disorder that the team at BALANCE hopes will help you to feel seen and validated, whether or not it reflects your unique experience. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, you deserve to be heard and get support.

An Ode to My Body

Oh, my heart, how I thank you for relentlessly beating to keep me alive.

Thank you for pulsing each second I breathe, even though I have pushed you beyond limits.

I have overworked you and have asked you to give while I took.

Thank you for your beats; thank you for keeping me alive through this war between my brain and body.

I feel you moving energy and love, and I hope to one day authentically give back to you.

To my stomach, I thank you for nourishing me and providing my body with energy.

I am so sorry I feel so much disgust for you because you never looked like I wanted you to. Because you never did what I tried hating you into.

I thank you for holding and protecting such vital organs. 

I thank you for the mindful abdominal breath that activates the calming and resting response within my body.

You may have wrinkles, folds, rolls, freckles, sagging, and the like, but that is more than okay.

To my legs, I thank you for each step I take throughout this journey of life.

Thank you for helping me carry myself and live out my soul’s purpose.

I have demanded so much from you, from wanting you to look slim and gaping to muscled and toned.

You stayed with me from the endless long runs, gym sessions, biking trails, and the like.

I have tried hating you into change, yet you continued to carry me and give me the ability to move regardless. 

You may not be free of stretch marks, cellulite, and muscles, but I thank you for showing up for me.

To my eyes, ears, and nose, I thank you for letting me experience the world.

Through you, I can see, hear, smell, and taste. 

Through you, I can embrace and authentically feel how it is to be a living human.

Through you, I get to experience the world regardless of my body size. 

I can appreciate what my life has to offer me and make memories.

To my brain, I see you and all your complexity.

Although you can be my greatest enemy, I thank you. 

I thank you for the part of you that fights my eating disorder. 

Thank you for being an asset to healing and recovery when I put you to good use. 

I know you are used for evil and harshness, but you can be used for goodness and love.

I hope to use you for good, brain, because you serve as a connection to tie myself together mind, body, and soul holistically.

Oh, my brain, do not be my enemy; instead, aid me in my reason for living.

Dear body, I thank you for showing up for me this day.

You are a gift, a vessel, and the least interesting thing about me. 

Each system you are made up of is specifically and intrinsically woven to work to keep me alive.

I am so sorry for waking up each day to look in the mirror and put you down for not looking “good enough,” “small enough,” or “perfect enough.”

Dear body, I thank you for carrying me through my life’s journey.

I thank you for allowing me to reach the destinations of my soul.

There will be a time when we are not at war.

And I am living and healing for just that.

Clients enrolled in BALANCE programming and groups learn skills to navigate and manage body image distress. If you or a loved one want support in learning to make peace with your body, our admissions team is here to answer any questions about our Day Treatment Program, Weeknight Program, and other programs and services. Click here to learn more about our weekly Body Image group facilitated by BALANCE’s Clinical Director Beck Liatt (they/them). 

Our admissions team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our programs and services. Book a free consultation call with our admissions team below, or read more about our philosophy here.

Looking for eating disorder treatment programs or services in the New York City area? Learn more about our options at BALANCE eating disorder treatment center™ here or contact us here.

This post was written by BALANCE Blog Contributor, Tori Barkosky (she/her). 

Tori is currently a senior at St. Catherine University, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Nutrition Science. Tori is passionate about all things related to intuitive eating, HAES, mental health, body respect, eating disorders, and disordered eating. She desires to become a holistic therapist or psychologist in the future and work with clients with eating disorders and help them recover and heal their broken relationship with food and body and find liberation from diet culture. Outside of classes and work, Tori enjoys yoga, being in nature, and consuming too much coffee.

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