As you know, I often talk about asset development in our young people. When they find and take hold of their their SPARK (Support, Passion, Action, Reason and Knowledge), they are able to put their energy into something so positive that, while it may not negate the negative, it can create a louder, more convincing voice that tells them they are amazing just as they are. Rebecca Tishman started writing for us when she was in high school– talking about her struggles and triumphs while in recovery for her Eating Disorder. Now, a freshman in college for fine arts, we are so proud and pleased that her voice has become stronger and louder in this world of Eating Disorder recovery. Her passion, art, has reached new levels now- it is being recognized and rewarded in the Eating Disorders community. Read her latest article about the art of recovery and just how good a bad situation can get when you turn it around and make it so. Proud of you, Rebecca. So proud.
The Art of Recovery: Making the best of a bad situation
By: Rebecca Tishman
Having written for Dr. Robyn and shared my Eating Disorder story, I’ve learned a great deal about advocating for myself, using my voice, and turning a bad situation into something of which I can be proud. Just 2 short years ago, I know that I could have to let ED destroy me. To take away my life. But instead I’m now speaking out against ED in favor of full recovery and making art that addresses the issue head on. I’m so thankful to be alive everyday.
I’ve started to find my voice and discover ways of asserting myself. It’s amazing to me that I am now in a place in my own recovery that I can share my experiences with others and help them, in some small way, get through their rough times battling ED. Since I began writing for Dr. Robyn, I’ve had countless friends, acquaintances and even strangers get in touch with me to seek advice about various aspects of ED and recovery. Some just to tell me I’ve helped them get through another day. While I admit that I can’t very well solve their problems and that every person’s experience is different, I’m able to offer a few words about what helped me in various situations and lend a listening ear because often that’s all we really need.
This voice is now reflected in my art. And, in turn, my art has been a big source of motivation to stay in recovery and a source of healing. When I’m struggling, I remind myself that if I start to slip back into ED I won’t be able to continue at art school and often that’s the reality check I need. Without my art I don’t know where’d I’d be in my recovery; it’s constantly helping me get through the days.
I recently entered the “Imagine Me Beyond What You See” IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals) Body Image Art Competition with a sculpture I made over my winter vacation. I won. I actually won! I was so honored and grateful. There is something very healing about having others view my work, appreciate it, understand it…and maybe even understand a little bit more about me or themselves. And perhaps it’s ironic now, as my ED used to tell me to hide from the spotlight that this piece is garnering all sorts of attention. I used to run from it. But this past weekend, I went Arizona, where the conference was being held, to go up on stage and accept the first place award.
When I was at the conference, not only was I proud of myself from an art standpoint, but I was proud of myself for being far enough in my recovery that I could stand there and proudly say that I’m in recovery. I used to be ashamed of being in recovery; I thought it meant I failed my eating disorder and that I gave up too easily. But now I see that my eating disorder failed me and I’m better without it. With all these amazing things happening for me and with all the opportunities I’m being given, I can’t imagine going back to my ED. I love being in recovery and being able to share my recovery with others.
Even as I write this there’s that little voice, the one that belongs to ED, hating that I’m saying I’m happy to be in recovery but it’s so much quieter than it used to be. That’s what gives me hope that eventually it will be gone all together and it will be just me without an eating disorder at some point.
While various family members and friends have helped me recover from my eating disorder, there are a few people who have helped me speak out about the joys of recovery and help me stop being ashamed of my past and instead embrace it to move forward. Jenni Schaefer with her books like “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me,” Dr. Robyn with her website that she asked me to write for, and the IAEDP body image art competition have all helped me move forward and reach new markers in my recovery. It’s still astonishing to think back to even a year ago when I had trepidations about recovering. Never in my wildest dreams could I even imagine that I’d be attending Eating Disorder Symposiums to receive art awards.
My; what a difference a year of hard work makes.
Gives new meaning to “art therapy,” doesn’t it? On a side note, Rebecca’s piece, made of melted down spoons, was purchased for $625– proceeds to go to the IAEDP foundation. So, her piece is helping others in more ways than she ever imaged. Yay, Rebecca!
Please let Rebecca know what you think. Write a comment here or on Facebook. She reads them and responds!
The Art of Recovery: Making the Best of a Bad Situation is a post from: Dr. Robyn Silverman – Child Development Specialist, Body Image Expert, Success Coach & the Creator of the Powerful Words Character Development System