Becka Watkins

Eating Disorder Recovery Art


Eating Disorder and Recovery Art

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New work. Original and prints available soon.

A list of the things I heard and learned about recovery that are true for me. 

  • Eating disorder recovery is unique to the individual.

  • There is not one treatment for eating disorders.

  • Recovery is fluid.

  • Etiology and solutions are varied.

  • Sometimes there is danger in having others define what recovery is for you. This can result in unattainable goals and feelings of failure. Define recovery and redefine it to feel successful.

  • Who defines recovery: The person suffering is who knows. You can’t fool the self

  • Instead of saying “Recovered,” say something like, “I am 58% recovered and working on the rest.” However say whatever it means to you even if it means not saying it to anyone but yourself

  • Recovery is something that evolves over time and is defined by the one suffering

  • One moment of relapse will not undo all the good work.

  • Need to get rid of saying “Ideal body weight” 

  • Language is important 

  • Health at every size

  • Recovery: do not make it like a prison. The eating disorder was already like that

  • Recovery is emotional regulation and the ability to act rational in irrational situations

  • Eating disorders do evolve and devolve 

  • It was important that I wrote the ending before I got to the ending. I played out the entire binge or restrict episode all the way to the end so I could ask myself; what do I want later? Who do I want to be? What challenges and emotions do I want to deal with today? Will I feel better or worse? What will my body think? 

  • Treatment does not always mean recovery

  • I eventually needed recovery from my eating disorder and from treatment. There are many types of recovery groups and centers and philosophies that create rules and restrictions. Initially I needed to measure food and control portions and make sure I was eating enough and not too much. Initially I needed rules and needed to pre-make all my food and never eat out. As I gained recovery more and more I was released from the rules of treatment. It was the lack of anxiety around food that allowed me to finally be free.

  • The things I would tell someone striving for recovery is that it is a collection of many “Ah-Ha” moments over a long period of time while seeking recovery. It is not about hating your disorder, you will not come to hate it, you will come to understand it, respect it and not need it anymore. It is about valuing and not forgetting that you have a greater purpose in the world and you deserve wellness, love and kindness from yourself and others. Every time you take a step towards fear you take one more step towards becoming the person you are meant to be in the world. 



New work. Original and prints available soon.

I am an athlete. I swim for an adult swim team. I binge on food. I vomit. I run to swim practice. I swim for two hours. I stop at the gym on the way home. I don’t eat the rest of the day.

I run a swim team of 200 kids, 400 parents and 20 teenage employees. Many people think me a success but inside my heart burns with sadness. The struggle that started out as trying to control my weight is now controlling my thoughts, my decisions, my days, my nights and me. My heart hurts from all the pressure I put on it. I lie to be with food. I lie to be without it. I steal money to get food and sometimes I lay awake at my boyfriend’s house so I can steal food while he is sleeping. I leave early in the morning, leaving him to answer to his roommates as to why their food is gone. Shame has taken over and I have started to hide who I am and who I am not. No one knows the extent of abuse I put on myself. I have lost all my friends because I have chosen to be with food or exercise instead. I had in my dreams a passion to help others, to go to the Olympics, to write a book, to write poetry, of making art but instead I am stuck in an eating disorder with little hope of ever being free from it. I tried to be hospitalized again but insurance wouldn’t pay for it. I instead find myself hiding in the house with food, exercising until I collapse.

“Perfect Imperfection”

New work. Original and prints available soon.

When I reflect back on my thinking about my body I was always insecure about the shape of my hips, feeling like they were too rounded and stuck out. When I created this original piece I was in my mid 20s. Now when I see pictures of me at that time I can see now how inaccurate I was in how I thought I looked. In this painting, the lines of color weave through it like ribbon. At the time I thought it reflected recovery from an eating disorder however my recovery was never solid, always fluctuating between struggle and moments of reprieve. There are images of snake patterns on both sides of the painting. I remember when I was struggling and when I would have a relapse, I would dream about snakes. Once I dreamt that I was running over speed bumps on my bike but when I looked down they were actually snakes. I recall another dream when I dreamt that someone was throwing snakes at me. Today I find this painting peaceful as I follow the lines of color that are a woman’s shape, a tree with leaves and a butterfly.