In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, eating disorder awareness and fundraising organization Project Heal created the social media campaign #RecoveryIs, which asks survivors to post photos of themselves using the hashtag to describe what recovery means to them. And based on the responses, it's clear that eating disorder recovery means so much more than than changing your eating habits. For many survivors, recovery provides a different way of thinking, a community of support, and a whole new set of possibilities for the future. And like eating disorders, it affects all areas of someone's life.
While there's debate within the eating disorder community as to whether or not full recovery is possible, it's clear that things can get better, even for those who thought there was no hope. Some users of the hashtag talk about how recovery has helped them value their inner qualities. Others say it helped them enjoy experiences that their eating disorders would have hindered. And many didn't think that attaining such healthy, full lives would be possible.
"To have a group of men and women sending in their #RecoveryIs stories and successes began to inspire all those individuals still battling and fighting their eating disorder," Project Heal co-founder Liana Rosenman told The Huffington Post. "All of these testimonials all began to shed light on the fact that recovery is possible and that each person has their own story and road to recovery worth sharing."
Here are a few of the most poignant and inspirational posts:
And a friendly reminder that it's always okay to eat at any time of day:
Just as eating disorders come in all different forms, recovery does, too. But what most survivors' stories have in common is perseverance. By speaking out, they remind others that it is possible for them, too, to persevere through the toughest circumstances.