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

When honeysuckle restarts your recovery May 16, 2013

           Honeysuckle. It is more than a scent at Bath and Bodyworks or a pretty flower you dared your friends to eat in grade school recess. To me, at least as of Wednesday, they have become a metaphor for recovery.

            Honeysuckle is an invasive species—particularly here in southwest Ohio—which grows rapidly while, subsequently, strangling the life out of every nearby plant and completely taking over the area. I have spent many hours with a hack saw and shovel removing this aggressor from one of my favorite places—the Lytle Creek Greenway. To say that honeysuckle is extremely hard to remove is an understatement. My volunteer efforts with the Lytle Creek League of Conservators has caused me to lose blood, sweat and my temper.

            Recently, while visiting Wilmington, I went to my private peaceful retreat of the Lytle Creek Greenway to relax and pass the time before meeting my friends for dinner. All too often I get so wrapped up in the busy-ness of daily life that I forget to slow down and simply be in the present moment. Lying on the ground at the greenway, staring through the canopy of a tree more than a hundred feet high, listening to the aria being performed by the robins and feeling the gentle caress of the breeze…I was finally afforded the moment to simply be; to live in the moment. For those few moments ED was silent, my carefully planned schedule did not exist, and all my stress seemed to fade into the emerald of the leaves. Lytle Creek is my Walden.

            “That’s all well and good Rhea,” you may be thinking, “but what does that have to do with honeysuckle and recovery?” Excellent question my dear reader. As is happens, Lytle Creek is overrun with invasive Japanese honeysuckle. It has gotten to the point that the honeysuckle is killing native trees, displacing local animals and taking over the trails built at the greenway. I, along with countless other volunteers, have been working to remove this assassin from our beloved greenway for many years. As I lay in the woods this week, I realized how much the honeysuckle invasion mirrors ED’s hostile takeover in our lives. At first, as with the honeysuckle, ED comes into our lives with beauty and charm; a seemingly innocent addition to our lives. We think, just a little bit of this could be ok, right? Before we know it, both ED and the honeysuckle begin spreading and strangling the life around them; eventually destroying everything with which they come into contact. Everything we care about—our flowers, our trees, our self-worth, our lives—is displaced by our honeysuckle (or ED, if you will). Only through removing ED from our true selves—as we remove the honeysuckle from Lytle Creek Greenway—do we see the beauty that lies within each of us. By removing the invasive ED from our lives, we are able to clearly see the strength and bravery that lies, inherently, within all of us. Only through the path to recovery can we begin to remove the honeysuckle from our lives and rediscover our own lives. Remember, beneath all the honeysuckle that is ED is a wonderful human being with so much to offer the world; you are more beautiful, stronger and more caring than ED gives you credit for. You are worth recovery.


My view from the ground at Lytle Creek Greenway


A re-purposed loading belt from the now defunct DHL shipping that serves as a bridge to my oasis



The following photos of the Lytle Creek Greenway were taken with my cell phone. Therefore, please excuse the graininess and know proper photos will return soon.



Mark 4:30-32

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?  It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on                                                                                                       earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”


I had no idea this watershed area even existed until the honeysuckle was cleared out of the area. As you can see, there is beauty under the mess of the honeysuckle that was only exposed and allowed the opportunity to flourish after the invasive honeysuckle was removed. Much like the honeysuckle removal process, you can only discover your beauty and worth when ED has been removed from your precious and worthy life.



8 Responses to “When honeysuckle restarts your recovery”

  1. Beautifully put. I’m glad you found somewhere where you are at peace. Stay strong + Keep fighting.

  2. I absolutely loved this. So true and what a wonderful parallel. Great post! 🙂

  3. I love this post! And I love honeysuckle! The smell, the sight, the taste of that tiny drip of nectar…how sad that it’s an invasive species! (I had no idea!) Thanks for this metaphor…ED really does disguise himself as something innocuous and even beautiful at times. May you have more moments like this one in Lytle Creek Greenway! –Megan

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Yes, sadly, it is an invasive killing machine. haha. I agree that it smells good and has a certain beauty to it. Unfortunately, it knocks out native species and overruns areas faster than it can be contained. Oddly reminiscent of ED in our lives. Thank you for reading and I am glad the metaphor resonated with you. Take care!

  4. That was a perfect metaphor for ED. Honeysuckle… how true.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s