The Sweet Sound of Freedom: A Songwriter's Journey to Recovery
This article was written exclusively for EatingDisordersOnline.com by Angelica, a singer/songwriter, social worker and health coach living in Boston. After struggling with an eating disorder for 11 years, Angelica is now free and encourages others to seek freedom.
Who I am today is not the person I was when I developed my eating disorder around the age of 18. My eating disorder began as I started restricting my calories and working out quite a bit. Into college I started binging and purging on a regular basis as well as fasting.
I hated the disorder, along with my body, but I couldn’t stop, even though I told myself I could at any time. I saw different therapists while in college but did not become serious about recovery until I started graduate school.
Learning to Trust and Believe in Myself
Everyone’s eating disorder and everyone’s recovery journey is different; mine has quite a few memorable people and hundreds of songs written during the process.
I had great therapists and a wonderful nutritionist who inspired me to be my authentic self and, among many identities, a songwriter. I also went on a journey of discovering how food could help me heal rather than using it, in the end, to harm myself.
I learned so many amazing aspects of holistic health and taking care of my whole self through the health coaching program at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This was a huge step for me in trusting myself. I trusted that I would not use all of this wonderful information for ‘bad’ or start obsessing, yet again, on eating “perfectly.” And guess what? I didn’t! I went after what I wanted, believed in myself and succeeded! (By the way, eating perfectly does not exist. Rather, I encourage you to learn what your body truly needs and how to best take care of you.)
Focusing on Strength and Finding Freedom
I now focus on how strong I am, not a number on the scale. That number means nothing! In fact, I am training for my first 5k and having fun while exercising my body – bring on the muscle! Now that’s freedom!
Perhaps I am getting a bit ahead of myself. I just want to share so much of what I learned on my freedom journey! Working with certified holistic health coach (aka eating disorder freedom coach) Shan Larter is how I claimed my total freedom. I had been “maintaining” quite well in recovery; however, let me tell you, dear reader, “maintaining” and “freedom” are two completely different things.
In freedom, there is no “good” vs. “bad” food, which is something I struggled with for so long! Now, eating is about honoring what my body is craving because a craving is my body needing an actual nutrient, not some chemically filled non-food. Freedom is seeking to serve others, rather than myself by blocking out my emotions, which I was too scared to feel. And those emotions, they are beautiful! Yes, sometimes they are painful, but I would much rather feel them because you can’t know the true experience of joy without feeling pain.
Today, instead of obsessing over what I eat or what I weigh, I focus on taking care of myself and making music to inspire others on their freedom journey. Feel free to check out my EP, Freedom, on all digital distribution music sites.
Here’s to your freedom!
Photo credit: Ashley May Photography