Sharing My Fight: Why Reading and Writing are Crucial to My Recovery

I’ve had mental health struggles for most of my life. I like to write about it because I often feel lonely and isolated with my symptoms. I just think there are others out there who can relate and that’s always reassuring. 

Making It Through the Day

My most recent battle with my eating disorder revealed that sometimes the smallest things are the hardest. Just nourishing my body – something that should be instinctual – is difficult. 

As miserable as it was to be at a treatment center, it was somewhere I could catch my breath. It’s a safe place to let go for a minute. Everyone already knows you’re crazy – you don’t have to hide it. Trying to function and live a normal life is exhausting when your eating disorder has taken over everything.

It’s been nearly five months since I was discharged and I’ve learned that the real world is not as forgiving as the treatment center.

The emotional impact of going through treatment has definitely taken its toll. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a dream but I’m actually awake.  I’m stuck in my head and I can’t always tell what’s inside of me and what’s outside. I talk to myself. I have very little attention for anything else.

It’s hard to focus on the positive when you feel you are being ruled by the negative but somehow I grab on to the light in my life with everything I’ve got and make it through the day.

Reading and Writing

In the past few months, I’ve learned that reading and writing are crucial. I mean, they should be anyway but especially now in my recovery. Reading has become an act of mindfulness. It’s a distraction from the mess going on in my head and it keeps me present. It gives me something to focus on. Concentration is very difficult but I feel it has improved with reading.

Writing on the other hand is not only an outlet, it helps me process my thoughts and feelings. It’s how I organize and express what’s on my mind and it’s one way I have allowed myself to really experience my emotions. Sometimes it’s painful but other times it’s just a good release.

Reading and writing have both shown me that there is a world outside of my head — and a world outside of our little house. I’ve always carried books and journals with me everywhere I go but now it’s even more meaningful.

As I continue to see a therapist and dietitian, my eating disorder has slowly loosened its grip. Things are getting a little easier. 


  1. SchreiberBike says

    I find writing great to organize my thoughts, to figure out what’s just bouncing around in my head, what I really think and what’s important. I don’t talk to others much, so its good to have a place where I can let my mind out. I’ve got 50some notebooks full of scribbles and I always wonder if someday I might turn them into something more concrete. Or sometimes I fantasize about taking them to an industrial shredder and hiding my warped mind from the rest of the world forever. Like me, my notebooks are a work in progress.

    Keep on going and be strong when you need to be.

  2. Katydid says

    I agree: “Keep on going and be strong when you need to be.” I think writing is a very creative and healthy way of coping for you. I also agree that writing can help organize your thoughts, and you can always go back to something you wrote a day ago, a month ago, a year ago, and gauge where you were then and where you are now.

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