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

When it is your Recovery Anniversary November 12, 2013

Four years ago, I made a decision that drastically altered the path of my life; a decision that, ultimately, would lead me towards the path to recovery. But first, the really scary, really awkward, really intimidating initial step.


I stepped silently down the creaky basement stairs in the old house my college had converted into an office space. My boss had told me I should speak to one of her other workers about “my problem”; “she could really help you” she said. At the bottom of the stairs I saw Miranda (name changed to protect privacy), her brown bangs escaping her pixie cut as she sat in the floor putting together a display for the farmers’ market.


“Hey Rhea,” she said cheerfully with her typical enthusiasm and broad smile, “What’s up?”


I sat crossed legged on the floor near her as silently as I had crept down the stairs, admiring her work while picking at my nails. I noticed the vibrant blue of her eyes and the beauty of her tattoos as we sat there in awkward silence. I took a deep breath, “Miranda, the reason I came here today is that I spoke with Lynn (our boss, whose name has also been changed) and she said we might share some similar experiences. And I was just wondering if I could ask for your help because Lynn said you would be open to helping people like me and I just don’t know what to do because therapy isn’t working and Renée (my therapist, name not changed) doesn’t believe me that I’m sick and I am just so confused” I rambled in one long sentence while fighting back tears. I had done it; I admitted my disease to someone and things were never going to be the same…but for a positive this time. Miranda, the angel that she is, did not judge; she took my frightened, college student self under her wing and mentored me towards recovery for the next sixth months. And, on November 21, 2011 even though we had not spoken in months, she helped me through the anxiety and fear of my intake evaluation at the Lindner Center of Hope.


On November 11, 2009 I asked Miranda for help for a disease I had let rule my life for at least ten years. On November 11, 2009 I took the first step to recovery…to freedom.

Since that date:

I have drastically limited the frequency of my purging.

I have moved…three times.

I have quit using laxatives.

I graduated from college, received my teaching license, started work on a special education master’s degree, got at reading endorsement for my teaching license, and served two years in Americorps*.

I got my two recovery tattoos…and had one reworked

I have quit self-harming.

I have re-found my love of photography and writing.

I have upped the amount of calories I have a day.

I had an EKG and endoscopy…and became vegetarian.

I reached out to and made friends with the wonderfully beautiful and strong Meredith.

I have attended therapy sessions.

I have learned that my self-worth is not AT ALL correlated to my size.

I have learned that Ed never ever speaks the truth.

I started this blog and had it featured in NEDA’s blogroll.

I have given presentations and written articles to destigmatize EDs.

I participated in the NEDA walk in Washington DC…my first trip to our nation’s capital.

I have emailed the Secretary of State about passing bills and amendments that support research and funding to ED awareness.

I have continued with my passion of educating children.

I have gone to symphonies, weddings, museums, zoos, concerts, beaches, mountains and unfamiliar cities.

I have begun to separate myself from Ed…and I have never been happier or healthier.

Psalm 34:8 and 18

8: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him

18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit


17 Responses to “When it is your Recovery Anniversary”

  1. Kaity Says:

    I wish I had something better to say, but I love you and I love that you’re happy and healthy ❤

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Ok, so wordpress decided your comment was spam. And, because I never check my spam, I did not see this until today. Please know, your comment is not spam, it is heartfelt and I love you! Thank you so much for supporting me and staying with me every step of the way. Love ya girlie.

  2. robertlfs Says:

    Thank you very much for your story and being of service. By the way, one of the most blessed things I am able to do is work with the youth in AmeriCorps.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you Robert. I did my service in rural Ohio working with lower-income food insecure children and their parents to develop self-sufficiency in their food habits (ie: backyard gardens, composting, nutrition education, and general education on where food comes from). Not only did I get to work with those wonderful children and their families, but I had a large group of local college volunteers whom I affectionately referred to as kids as well. Goodness I loved that job!
      Take care and thank you for being part of Americorps.

      • robertlfs Says:

        At the museum where I am the director, we are hosting our fourth 8-week NCCC AmeriCorps Team. The team serves in the community on rehab projects with elderly homes, nearby state park, and at the museum. Working with AmeriCorps is the best part of my job.

        I like your gravatar. I am originally from Cincinnati and remember Fountain Square before it got moved and redeveloped!

      • rheasofhope Says:

        Cincinnati is a wonderful city, isn’t it?

        I am glad you are serving our community through the use of Americorps members, thank you!

  3. teenieyogini Says:

    Happy anniversary! Congrats!

  4. How interesting…I was thinking about my own recovery anniversary (November 18th). 2 years for me! I thought about writing on it. But decided against it, I didn’t know where to start. I loved this. What a simple way to write about a recovery anniversary. I may have to rethink about writing one on mine now that I have read yours. I got a recovery tattoo too! Hehehe.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Congratulations on your two years! How exciting!

      Honestly, I did not know where to start either…so I decided to start at the beginning with the friend who helped me realized how much I deserved recovery.

      I am so glad you have found your way to recovery. It is a bumpy ride, but so completely worth it. Take care.

  5. Awesome post! I love that you look back and recognize your successes. May we all be able to recognize that “self-worth is not at all correlated to” size! Peace. –Megan

  6. tryingtobethebestmom Says:

    I want you to know as a mother about to take her daughter to Lindner Center of Hope, your blog has helped ease my fears tremendously. Thanks you for your courage of writing and sharing with so many.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Lindner is a wonderful place. To say I was scared going in there (alone, no less) would be an understatement. However, everyone who works there, from the secretaries to the nurses and the doctors, is very calming and understanding. While I was unable to enter into inpatient or outpatient services due to insurance concerns, the experiences I’ve had with Lindner (intake evaluation, presentations and outreach efforts) have all been helpful and very reaffirming of my decision to recover. I wish you and your daughter all the best. Take care.

  7. This is so encouraging to read. There is life after ed. I love your blog. Best wishes for the future 🙂

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