My Experience as a Peer Support Worker

Sometimes we learn better from
someone with lived experience who has walked the same path.  That’s what I feel makes a Peer Support
Worker so valuable –it’s first-hand experience. 
When I was struggling with
an eating disorder, I remember feeling more understood and at ease with someone
who had recovered from an eating disorder themselves.  To this day I truly believe there are some
aspects of an eating disorder that just cannot be explained or taught.  The intense fear that rises when taking that
first bite of a meal, that vicious dark cloud of loneliness that follows you
everywhere you go, the blurry haze that separates you from your loved ones as
you strain your weary eyes to break free….some of these things are just,
This is one of the reasons
why I took on the role as an Eating Disorder PeerSupport Worker at the KeltyMental Health Resource Centre.  When
I first meet with people and they begin to tell me their story, I feel as if I already
know them.  There seems to be this
underlying connection of a shared struggle, an understanding that they are not
alone in their experience.  I honestly
believe that Peer Support ultimately gives people hope, as I show them day
after day of a living example that recovery is possible.  Whether it’s to parents, youth, student
counselors, teachers, service providers, adults, professionals, dietitians 
roommates, friends, coaches, etc., I bring a unique capacity to feel empathy
and aim to help people with the same common goal: recovery.  The tricky part is, everyone’s recovery looks
different – it’s about finding what works and pushing out of that comfort zone
that’s important!  So as I listen and
provide valuable first-hand coping skills, I always let the person or family
know I am not there to judge, it is not their fault, and most importantly, they
are not alone. I encourage people to trust that it will get easier and continue
to take small challenges.  Like jumping
out of a plane, you must trust that the parachute will open. 
People say that recovery
is the most difficult thing they have ever done.  But I have to say it is also the most
worthwhile, the most rewarding, and the accomplishment I, to this day, remain
proudest of.

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