For the Record – The road to eating disorder recovery

Marwa Elgabry – March 4th, 2020

Drew uses her mental health journey to inspire others onto the path of eating disorder recovery. Fighting to achieve self-love in a looks-oriented society was at the heart of her path to self-acceptance. Upon realizing that her own opinion of herself is the only one that matters, she was able to conquer this insecurity.

(Tesa Drew, Instagram)

Female leaders are being celebrated ahead of International Women’s Day, on March 8th. Tesa Drew, a local leader in bringing awareness to mental illness, said there’s still a lot of work to do in order to move away from an appearance-oriented society.

To help others achieve self-love and mental well-being in a community that’s focused on looks, Drew shares her journey to eating disorder recovery with others on the same path.

Drew explained that learning to love and accept herself has been one of the biggest challenges she’s faced on her journey to healing.

“I think these days with social media and the way society is portraying the quote unquote beautiful person, and with diet culture, it makes it so difficult for anybody, especially females, to accept themselves for who they are and to accept their bodies, personalities, quirks and flaws. I tried to become this person or this idea of perfection for so long that I compromised who I actually was as a person.” – Tesa Drew, Mental Health Advocate

A steppingstone in conquering these feelings of insecurity was realizing that the only opinion she needed to care about was her own.

The First Steps

Drew’s struggles ignited her determination to heal and help others along the way. She encouraged anyone who’s struggling to take the first steps towards recovery. To Drew, that means reaching out.

“It’s so much easier when you have people and supports alongside you. For years, I tried to do it all myself and this time I’ve accessed every resource and person that I thought would allow me to reach out to them. And it’s been a world of a difference. So the biggest advice I’d say is if you don’t have a huge support system, which I understand a lot of people don’t, just find one person to talk to.” – Tesa Drew, Mental Health Advocate

Drew encouraged people who are struggling with eating disorders to reach out for help. Highlighting her own journey, Drew said that for years she believed that she could fight her hardships alone. Today, Drew encourages others to seek support, and explained that batting eating disorders is easier with the right people and resources on your side.

(Pixabay)

Drew’s blog handle, “Recovery is a Roller Coaster”, pays tribute to the up’s and down’s of eating disorder recovery. She encouraged others to take the first steps and let go of the fear of failure. Drew explained that setbacks are learning curves that increase people’s strength and resilience.

(Pixabay)

Moving Forward

Drew encouraged people to fight their fear of failure when embarking on the first steps to recovery. She reminded that the journey to healing isn’t a linear one, highlighting the name of her blog: “Recovery is a Roller Coaster“.

“Roller coasters go up and down, they do loops, go forward, and backwards. That is exactly what recovery is. You learn something for every situation that you’re in. Just take one small step at a time. Even if you feel like you’re stepping backwards, eventually you’re going to have to step forward again. And it’s just having that faith and  knowing that the way you’re feeling now isn’t going to last forever.” – Tesa Drew, Mental Health Advocate

Learning to Cope

Beyond pushing forward, Drew shed light on lifestyle habits she’s adopted to cope with the roller coaster journey of recovery.

Check out Drew’s following three tips for relaxation and healing:

  1. Writing: Communicating your feelings through writing can be very therapeutic. Writing is also a tool to share thoughts, feelings, and advice with others who are on the same journey.
  2. Yoga: Unwinding through yoga can help put your body in a state of relaxation. Try yoga activities that incorporate deep breathing exercises and meditation which can benefit mental and physical health.
  3. Colouring: Reignite childhood nostalgia through colouring. The activity has been touted for its potential to increase mindfulness and decrease stress and anxiety among people of all ages.

In a last piece of advice to listeners, Drew pointed back to the underlying issues in today’s society. In order to break free from the repercussions of living in a looks-focused world, Drew said people need to focus on what’s beneath the surface.

Through her journey, Drew has used different stress-relieving activities to cope with challenges. One of her favourite outlets is writing, which she stated is therapeutic for both herself and others who she connects with through her written work. Today, Drew is writing a book about her journey to eating disorder recovery, to inspire and support others who are on the same path.

(Pixabay)

“People need to give more compliments about who you are as a person, such as “wow, your smile is so bright today” or “your energy is so beautiful”.  But again, it’s just the way that society is these days. With people speaking out and different movements taking place, it does make a difference.” – Tesa Drew, Mental Health Advocate