My therapist surprised me the other day by asking whether I’d want to be a mentor for others going through recovery–not necessarily at this point, but at some point in the near future. I got just a little rush of anxiety, mostly because I have kept this part of me so private from so many people. I would LOVE to be a mentor in recovery for people, but I feel much more comfortable being anonymous, nameless, faceless (like this blog!). As a college professor, I am keenly aware that locally, many of the young women who would be in a recovery group could be students at my university. I told my therapist I wouldn’t be able to do it if my Venn diagram started closing in too tightly.
But then, I have thought about it for a few days. How would I have responded in college, or graduate school, or during doctoral work, if I had a professor whom I respected share that she had struggled with an eating disorder? How would I have been different if I felt like there was someone who understood EXACTLY what the mania of a binge feels like, or the sickening, dizzying, exhilarating emptiness of starvation feels like? How many of the students I cross paths with desperately need that?
I’m not there yet. But, maybe I will be someday.