Proud2Bme | This is What Recovery Looks Like

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This is What Recovery Looks Like

By Jeanette Suros--My eating disorder began at the age of 10, but I was unaware of it at the time. The disordered thoughts started at age three: I would compare myself to other girls in my gymnastics class and at school, never feeling like I could measure up. Throughout my gymnastics and cheerleading years, I felt like I had to look and act a certain way to be my best.

From that young age, losing weight was always at the back of my mind until I began over-exercising, believing that it would make me better. By the time I turned 13, the thoughts got worse, and in freshman year of high school, my life began to spiral downward. During this dark time, food was my ultimate enemy.

I would lie about where I ate and what I ate. I passed out in school and was in and out of the emergency room. There, I was told that I needed to get help for my anorexia, but I remained in denial. In fact, it took me until I landed in the ICU with a heart attack to admit that I had a problem. After this difficult admission, I was transferred to Somerset Eating Disorder Unit to begin my long journey to recovery.

As you already know, eating disorders are never easy to recover from, and everyone’s recovery looks different. I had been in and out of treatment between the ages of 17 and 22, where I learned that my anorexia was not just about food and weight—eating disorders are much deeper than that. I wanted to be invisible because I was hurting from multiple traumas and believed that if I was invisible, I couldn’t be hurt. My eating disorder convinced me that things would be better if I lost X number of pounds. It was like a friend who I could always count on to be there to numb me from the pain of my past.  

But in reality, my eating disorder wanted to kill me, because that is what this illness does. How could a friend be that awful, right? My last visit to inpatient opened my eyes to the terrible reality of my eating disorder, as did the children I worked with as a gymnastics coach, babysitter and nanny. As a mentor to young people, I want to teach them to love themselves and treat their bodies well. And I know that in order to do that, I have to live by my own words.   

Today, I associate recovery with taking my power back from my eating disorder. I thought that I was going to be in an unhealthy friendship with my eating disorder forever. I thought that my eating disorder defined me, but now I realize that I am not my illness; I am much more than that. I am not perfect, but I have come to realize that that is okay. I make mistakes every day, but I learn from them and move forward.

My eating disorder held me back from the life I was truly meant to lead. Even though I still have a few years of school left, I am looking forward to earning my degree. I am now closer than I ever was to becoming a therapist specializing in eating disorder recovery. When I’m not in class, I practice yoga and photography, which have helped me in my recovery. I am also a member of Project Heal’s New Jersey chapter, where I assist in raising funds for grants for those who can’t afford eating disorder treatment, and a writer for Proud2Bme.org.

My sister and I even created an annual event called The Be*YOU*tiful Me Project to raise awareness about eating disorders and suicide prevention. With this event, it’s our mission to spark a conversation about eating disorder recovery and inspire people to love themselves for who they are. I believe that people are the most beautiful when they show their healthy, true selves to the world. Through The Be*YOU*tiful Me Project, I hope to show others that it is never too late to get help or to start a new chapter in your life.

I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I continued to allow my eating disorder to have ultimate control over my life. I honestly believe that we all go through things for a reason. For so long, I asked myself, “Why am I going through this?” But I realized in my recovery that I was meant to make a difference, and that inspiring others is my contribution to the world. Recovery is possible —and I am living proof of it!

About the blogger: Jeanette Suros is 3.5 years into her full recovery from anorexia. She is an advocate for healthy body image and eating disorders and wants to show others that recovery is possible! Jeanette is proud to spread awareness of the Be•YOU•tiful Me project.

For more on recovery, check out:

How to Cope with School When Struggling with an Eating Disorder

Self-Care is the Greatest Gift

5 Ways to Make Your Campus a Safe Space for Recovery: A Countdown

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About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.