How Benjamin O’Keefe Began a Global Dialogue: #whatisrecoveryWhen Benjamin O’Keefe began to encourage the sharing of eating disorder recovery stories through telling his own, he had no idea the positive effect he would have in his own life and the lives of others. Telling your story is a courageous and sometimes life changing act. Eating disorder stories can be particularly challenging because it requires facing emotions and the person we once were. Benjamin’s struggle is not uncommon, although it is unique. He describes growing up being put down for his size, believing his worth was dependent on how he looked. He began restraining his eating to the point where he admitted he needed help. He says that while seeking treatment was the best decision he ever made, he was also scared, because he truly believed by not eating, he was doing the right thing. Once in treatment he began to determine what was really valuable to leading a healthy and fulfilling life. By acknowledging the characteristics which are important to defining himself- his heart and ambition, he found freedom from being ruled by negative body image. He also began to see his part in a global effort to re-shape the concept of beauty in the world. Eating disorders can cause us to isolate, feel alone and as though our voice isn’t heard or is meaningless. In sharing his story, advocating for eating disorder awareness, Benjamin began to see the positive effect he was having in the lives of others. He also became increasingly aware of the healing effect it was having for him, that he began to truly recognize all of the strengths he has, how telling his story was affirming for both him and others all the reasons to love yourself.
"We all have a story and our story has the power to change someone else's, or - if we give it a chance - to change the world."Sharing eating disorder recovery stories is a profound way to advocate for awareness, help others, and heal by facing and letting go of the past. We hope by sharing Benjamin’s struggle, to inspire courage and recovery, and invite you to submit your story to our website. By submitting your story you help us to continue the dialogue Benjamin has started and changing the way we identify beauty and positive body image. Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and then check back often to see it and stories from others like you published on our blog.