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By Samira Saadatfar 

I never believed that this nightmare was going to be finished for me, but here I am today sharing my recovery story. And I believe the nightmare can be over for you as well - you can recover. A life full of joy and happiness without feeling shame and guilt IS possible. For me, every challenging moment was worth it to break free from my eating disorder thoughts. The following are some of the approaches and perspectives that worked for me.

During my recovery, the ACT approach really helped me. What is ACT? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) encourages people to accept their thoughts and feelings rather than pushing them away or feeling guilty for them. The ACT approach is all about accepting the situation you are in.

Acceptance does not mean that you have to like your thoughts or your feelings, it just means that you try and not run away from them. During my recovery, there were many times where I did not like the process and it was difficult to do the opposite of what my eating disorder was telling me to do. Not restricting was tough and even though I did not like going against my eating disorder thoughts, I learnt how to tolerate these new thoughts despite how uncomfortable it was.

I’m here to tell you that for at least a little while, the road to be recovery may be about tolerance rather than acceptance but that’s okay. It’s a hard journey but the commitment to that journey is worth it.

Another perspective that helped me was looking at the bigger picture, committing to the journey of recovery and taking action everyday. You could look at recovery as a mountain peak that you want to climb. Reaching the mountain peak may mean boldly facing challenges in your way, enduring pain and emotions, and tolerating the uncomfortable feelings that surface on the way to the top. It takes strength, courage and vulnerability to get there. But let me tell you that when you reach the top, everything will be brighter for you. For me, reaching recovery meant getting back to joy, happiness and love and I am so grateful for that.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

My name is Samira and I am going to graduate this summer with a bachelor degree in psychology. Recovering from my eating disorder has shown me how to be passionate and kind towards others and has also taught me how to increase my tolerance regarding the difficulties I'm facing in my life. Not only do I want to share my experiences with others who are suffering with eating disorders but I also want to be a psychotherapist in this field. My hobbies include playing the violin and playing chess in my free time.