Why This Woman With An Eating Disorder Wrote A Letter Of Gratitude To The Sun

"I forgot how I loved to watch your light flicker on the ripple of each wave on our lake."

May 1 is Eating Recovery Day. This letter is part of the Eating Recovery Center's campaign theme, "My Recovery Letter." People who struggle with eating disorders are encouraged to writer a letter of recovery or gratitude to themselves or someone they care about. 

Dear Sun,

Thank you for being there. For all of us, really as the center of our solar system. A source of life. It feels a little silly writing to you but the truth is, you mean a lot to me. You see, in my darkest days of binging, when I ate myself in a corner, letting life crumble around me, you were still there. I stopped going outside, worried what other people thought of me at my highest weight and the stigma and shame I carried with me. I stopped feeling the joy of your warmth on my face.

And yet you were still there. Even when you were hidden behind the thickest clouds, thrashing winds of storms, the tufts of snow from the sky, you were there. Even when I stayed in my room, curtains drawn, not wanting to see light of day, questioning if I even had a place in this world.

I didn't see and appreciate a lot of things when I was in the midst of binge eating disorder. I stopped hiking, which was an activity I loved most. I forgot how I twirled Sound of Music opening scene style in my backyard in growing up in Canada before plucking fresh raspberries from my mother's garden. I forgot how I loved to watch your light flicker on the ripple of each wave on our lake.

I can only surmise that I was in a cloud in my years of binging, which began at age nine and I left that special sun-drenched yard in Canada. I swallowed my emotions of traumas — my parents divorce, sexual assault at age 12, loneliness — with copious amounts of food. In turn, I stopped appreciating and experiencing all life had to offer. I stopped doing anything that I valued.

Recovery was a lot of work, trudging to appointments and groups when I didn't want to get out of bed. But there you were, announcing a new day, nudging me to get to work. I had to start all over again so many times. Still, you were constant and present, as always.

And finally, I could see and feel you in my life. I learned to live with an attitude of gratitude for each day, every time you rise in the East, illuminating all you support, and set gracefully in the West. This sweet magnificent act is what holds us all here even when we are unable to recognize it. I had to see darkness, to experience it, to appreciate the light of life.

Even now, as I deal with life without binging, you are there, a reminder to rise each day no matter what comes. You help me on even the stormiest days — the loss of a friend, a disappointing setback, or more. We will rise and set together each day. Sometimes if I'm awake in the early morning hours and worried about something with a quiet cup of coffee, I see you climb over the horizon. Then I know I can too.

You provide light and nourishment for my own garden, this tiny plot in my community garden where I literally planted a new beginning for my own family. I get to the root of food. I spend time with my kids as they watch nourishment grow and thrive at our own fingertips.

As long as you are there, it is worth doing the work for recovery. To show up every day and shine as you do.

Shine on,
Kara

To learn more about the resources available to people struggling with eating disorders, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org. To learn to help someone in need, visit here.

Cover image via Unsplash 

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