one girl's thoughts on life, mental illness, eating disorder recovery, and hope.

The Power of a Mentor December 22, 2012

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”  – Unknown

Fact: I am incredibly stubborn. Fact #2: I will not ask for help when I need it due to fact #1. For a long time I have viewed asking for help as a sign of weakness; that I was incapable of solving my own problems and people would *gasp* know I am not perfect. However, what I know now is that asking for help shows a great deal of strength. Asking for help shows others that you want to better yourself and learn from what they have to offer. Asking for help can be the hardest thing you ever do. However, I believe, asking for help is often the bravest and most beneficial thing you ever do. When it comes to recovery from an ED, Thom Rutledge always says, “No one, which means no one, can recover alone. And you are not the exception to this rule.” This is where the role of a mentor comes into the equation of recovery.

Journaling, drawing, crafting…whatever you do instead of behaviors, well, they can only offer so much. Sometimes you just need another person to talk to you about what you are going through, to calm you down, or to help you think through a situation. Sometimes just the presence of another person sitting with you, without even speaking, can bring great comfort when working through recovery.  A mentor can offer great insight into recovery because they have been there; they understand exactly what you are going through. They can offer insight and wisdom that comes from living in recovery that many other people cannot provide.  A mentor can help you stay motivated to work towards recovery and be there to support you every step of the way. For me, a big part of my recovery is someone holding me accountable for it. If there is no one there for me to be accountable to, odds are I might not work as hard. So, it is very beneficial for me to be able to have a mentor.

EDs are a disease that tries its best to isolate us from others. They cause us to lie and want us to separate from others in order for them to flourish. All the secrecy surrounding EDs causes us to build walls and not allow others in. A mentor will be able to help you reconnect to the world around you, and offer a special bond of compassionate understanding.  Once you are able to see a mentor accepting you even with all the imperfections you feel you have, you begin to start accepting yourself with those same imperfections.  By accepting your perfect imperfections, you can truly begin to heal.  Additionally, mentors are able to help you see the best in yourself. All too often, we have let our ED tell us there are no good qualities in ourselves. A mentor will help you break that thinking and allow you to see the good in yourself (because, like it or not, there is good in you).

This is the point in my blog where I talk about how much I adore my mentor, Meredith. I met her via her wordpress blog over a year ago (September 1, 2011 to be exact). There was a contact section that said something to the affect of, “If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here”. So, in November, I finally shot off a quick email thinking I would get nothing in return. Boy was I surprised. What I got back was a message with such love and support that I honestly started to cry as I read it. Someone finally understood me. Meredith has had her own battles with ED and has been working on recovery for some time now. We emailed back and forth many times since then, and even became Facebook friends. In October 2012, Meredith invited me to her bridal shower and wedding. I was shocked. I knew she meant a lot to me, in my life, but I never thought I had had an impact in hers. When I met her for the first time I was speechless. Here was this woman who knows so much about me, who has helped me through some of my worst times, who has always known exactly what I need to hear (and that doesn’t mean it was always what I wanted to hear), but who I had never even heard speak. How do you even begin to thank somebody for that? What do you say to someone who has been there for you? (for my actual response, visit this post)

To this day, Meredith and I continue our relationship. She is an amazing woman, mentor and, now, friend. I am constantly in awe of her strength, support and the extent of her generous heart. I owe a lot of my efforts in recovery to her. This Christmas, I am grateful for my relationship with Meredith, and wish that you are able to recover from your ED. Remember, together we can do this. You are stronger than you think and more resilient than you believe…you were made for recovery. Perhaps, one day, further on in your recovery, you, too, can become a mentor to someone else.

Ecc. 4:9-12

Ecc. 4:9-12


4 Responses to “The Power of a Mentor”

  1. Rhea of hope indeed! Takes guts to reach out. Humility requires courage. Beautifully written. Thom

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you Thom. I have a lot of trouble admitting when I need more help; as I typically view it as a sign of weakness. But, the further along in recovery I get, the more I realize that there is no shame in asking for help. Asking for help means you want to get better; and I want to get better. 🙂
      Also, I’m glad you get the name of the blog…most people don’t know how to correctly pronounce Rhea so they think it is Ree-uh of hope. Take care!

  2. mcreek Says:

    That realness shown to you as you journey through recovery is also a reminder to me that while I may inspire others, I also need to be inspired.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      That’s why we’re here Meredith. To comfort and be comforted. To help and be of help. To love and be loved. Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do. You are truly a wonderful friend and mentor…and I appreciate all that you are. I’m so glad that you’ve come into my life not only as a mentor and as someone to whom I look up to, but as a caring, understanding and lifelong friend.

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