I had never heard of the Not One More movement prior to writing this blog. When approached to write an entry, I admit that I struggled to find a starting point in response to the question, “What does Not One More mean to you?” What ultimately broke my writer’s block was shifting my perspective from that of a licensed professional counselor to someone who personally wishes to express compassion, hope, and encouragement to the people I serve and their natural supports.
The Not One More movement calls me to reflect on my own journey from suffering to wellness. I feel compelled to speak not only as an eating disorders counselor, but also as a person who has sought to find peace in my mind, contentment in my soul, and freedom in my body. These are the promises I made to my past self that my current and recovered self has upheld, and these are also the hopes I hold for all my past, present, and future clients: Not one more meal will be a tortuous minefield of doubt, fear, and self-loathing. Not one more day will be consumed by an internal critic who is never satisfied with your efforts, no matter how extreme. Not one more adventure or experience will be tainted by disordered thoughts that never permit you to be truly present in life. Not one more relationship will be strained by the isolation, secrecy, and shame in which the eating disorder thrives. Not one more hour, day, week, or year will be lost engaging in self-destructive behaviors that leave you feeling exhausted and broken.
The Not One More movement further calls me to remember and honor the people who accompanied me on my recovery journey. I am immeasurably grateful for their patience, their sacrifices, and their unconditional love. For the friends and family — both biological and chosen — of those who have lived or continue to live with an eating disorder, I offer these hopes and wishes for you as you travel alongside your loved one in recovery: Not one more meal will be spent in confusion, fear, and desperation as you watch your loved one struggle. Not one more day will be defined by hopelessness and helplessness. Not one more minute will be consumed by thoughts of self-blame and feelings of guilt. Not one more moment will leave you feeling utterly alone and unsupported. Not one more instant will have you wondering and worrying whether your loved one will survive.
Finally, I offer this closing wish: Not one more day will you believe that recovery is impossible. No journey is linear, and no journey is perfect. At times, the setbacks and uncertainties of recovery will seem as miserable as the eating disorder itself. And yet, the nourishment, the relief, and the fulfillment of living a recovered life is well worth the growing pains. Not one more moment will be spent without the knowledge that you and your loved ones are capable and deserving of peace, contentment, and freedom.
Since 2006, Carolina House has been providing high-quality care to individuals of all genders who are battling eating disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. We provide programming at two locations, with our residential treatment set in an idyllic, rural farmhouse in Durham, North Carolina, and a community-based day treatment and intensive outpatient center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Many people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with other mental health disorders, and our programs are designed to treat co-occurring depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder, among others. For more information, please visit www.carolinaeatingdisorders.com.