Recovery: 10 Years Later

Sometimes I am really blown away by people.

In a good way.

Not in a Kendall Jenner, Pepsi/Fyre Festival fiasco sort of way…

But in a, wow, how did I get so lucky, kind of way.

My best friend said the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me the other night.

We were sitting at a bar, and she proceeded to floor me with kindness.

And honestly, I’d muuuuch rather be self-deprecating than self-affirming, but I’ve decided to share this with you to show the full circle that God has brought me on.

She looked at me and said, “I’ve finally figured you out.”

And I asked her, “What do you mean?”

She said, “Caralyn, I’ve been your best friend since we were seven, and I’ve seen people just be drawn to you. Attracted to you. And I could never pinpoint what that “it factor” was. But I’ve finally figured it out. You’re the only person I’ve ever met with this characteristic, but you’re yellow.

And I kind of looked at her puzzled. I mean I know I eat a lot of carrots as a vegan, but…yellow?

And she said that I give off the color yellow. That I’m kind, effervescent, and joyful, and people are drawn to my “yellow.” That they are attracted to the warmth and light of my “yellow” because it makes them feel warm, and good.

And I just looked at her almost in disbelief, taken aback by the incredibly generous affirmation my best friend just blessed me with.

You’re my ‘yellow’ girl. You’re rare and beautiful. Make sure you find a guy who is deserving of your ‘yellow.’”

So why did I tell you this? Because I can assure you, my skin is crawling and I’ve getting stress hives with the level of rodomontade in this post. But allow me to just take you back for a quick moment.

Let me set the scene.


10 years ago. To the day. Yes, today is the ten year anniversary of when I went to inpatient treatment for my anorexia. And one of the most defining moments at inpatient was during family week. We were each asked to make an art project depicting how the eating disorder effected us personally.

And I remember exactly what I made, because there was no doubt in my mind as to how the eating disorder impacted me.

I made a black coffin out of construction paper, representing my anorexia. And then inside the coffin, I put all different colors of confetti.

The eating disorder killed my colors.

I have always been a vivacious, fun loving, spunky, full of life – and full of color – girl. But my anorexia wiped out all the color in my life. It shrouded my life with a blanket of darkness.

And the thing is, I never thought I would be able to regain it. The pallor of my existence seemed too despairing to be able to imagine a life in color again. And even during much of my recovery, I felt as though I was still missing that vibrancy. I was a muted version of who I was. Of who God made me to be.

So wouldn’t you know, that on the eve of my 10 year recovery anniversary, that my best friend, who has known me through all stages – all colors – of my life, would tell me that I’m the only yellow person that she knows, it made me just smile at the goodness of God.

He has brought me full circle.

Ten years later, he has restored me. Brought me back to who I was. And confirmed it through my best friend in the whole world. I had never told her about that episode with the family week art project. She didn’t know that “colors” were anything meaningful to me. It was just from her heart. And, I believe, how God encouraged me and recognized my anniversary weekend.

The journey of recovery is long and arduous. And one that I haven’t been alone on. God has been rebuilding me, brick by brick, every day, a little more and more vibrant. You can’t always see your own progress, but others can. Especially your best friend.

Restoration is possible. Even when it seems unimaginable, nothing is impossible for God. And I’m sitting here, ten years later, confirming just that.

God has brought me back to life. Brought my colors back to life.

I’ve got my yellow back.

Outlook: sunny.

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379 responses to “Recovery: 10 Years Later”

  1. Congratulations, and thank you for making a good part of your recovery a living testament to God’s boundless grace. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you so much Bruce, that’s really kind of you to say. You’re so right – God is absolutely the source of my recovery and I am so grateful for that! hugs to you xx

  2. Wow! So beautiful. I relate to you in so many ways, it is 10 years for me as well from bulimia. I am so happy to hear your story and success and healing! Thank you for sharing. Keep shining your yellow!

  3. I love this. Thank you for sharing. God is amazing. I am so grateful for His restoration power. Many blessings on your continued journey. <3

  4. Our childhood colors are a gift. We lose them as adults because we forget the trick of allowing God to protect us. That’s a two-sided coin: we get hurt, but others gain inspiration when we reach back and remember to let him shine through the darkness. Thanks for continuing to bring us inspiration.

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary and your amazing testimony! You are so beautiful and inspirational! Your testimony is going to touch many hearts and change many lives in a positive direction! At your talks you could give out yellow smiley faces!! I am so proud of you!

    • Thank you so much Rick!!! 🙂 gosh, you are so kind to say that. I pray that it helps even one person. God is so good!! 🙂 hahah oh my gosh that would be amazing 😀 I love a good happy emoji!! 🙂 hugs xox

  6. Happy anniversary and many decades more of happy returns of that break through. people often look down to those who do the most amazing things. people who just admit they do need some help and start the long road to recovery! I am so proud of your achievement, 3650+ days of triumph. No easy won triumph and even the sweeter the victory. Keep going, yellow, green, red, blue or polka dotted, and any shade under Gods Sun! you are made of awesome #StrictMotivation

    • Oh thank you so much. I really appreciate that. Yes, asking for help is probably one of the hardest steps! Oh wow, I’ve never worked out the math to see how many days, but sheesh! that’s a big number!! 🙂 haha polka dotted, that made me chuckle. thanks again! big hugs xox

  7. Our Good Good Father is the God of resurrection. For all of us, when he returns as he promised in John 14:1-3 (and many other places) and the age of death is over, he will resurrect us – mortal shall put on immortality, corruption shall put on incorruption. For all of this, in some way shape or form, he begins this resurrection even today – in our mind, body, and relationships.

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. YOu’re so right – He is the God of resurrection, and how incredibly blessed are we to be His children 🙂 thanks for stopping by, Brad. Big hugs to you xox

  8. You know, I probably wouldn’t have picked that out before specifically but I totally see that in you ( and all over you 🙂 ) And I guess we can all stop wondering now whether God remembers his anniversaries 😉 oh what a wonderful, caring Father <3

    This also makes me think again about auras – I'm sure yours is just radiant with all that yellow 🙂

    • Hey Carson! Thank yo so much 🙂 THat’s so kind of you to say! hahah yeah! we can confirm that He doesn’t forget!! But then, I guess we should have realized He’s a sentimental “softie” with His gift of the rainbow 🙂 haha Yeah, I don’t know much about auras either, but it makes me think of that too. thanks for stopping by! big hugs xox

  9. AAAHHH this post is so beautiful!!! And something very similar happened to me recently. I discovered that I attract good people/bring out the goodness in people. I don’t know if this is law of attraction or what but I think it’s really important to be nice to others and I just realized that people notice that, and it kind of draws them to me and we all share in kindness together. I think God orchestrated that little realization for me because I’ve been feeling really shy and anxious around people lately, but I think maybe I don’t have to be so guarded.

    Also, oh my God yes, recovery is so possible. You and I are living and breathing proof of it.

  10. Wow it made me feel good too. It is also nice to know someone else is being personally healed by God. I don’t want to offend you but I have often though you were part oriental. I’m a Eurasian and can usually recognize Asian (Chinese) blood. Yes you look “yellow” but not the colour but the race. Actually on second thought and from your posts your friend has got it right you are the colour yellow.

    • Aww, good! thank you so much, friend 🙂 yeah, God is so good and I thank Him everyday for saving my life 🙂 hah, you’re definitely not the first person to say that! In fact, my agent often submits me for those types of roles. But I am actually German and Irish! I just eat a lot of carrots (like a ton) and so my skin has taken on a yellowish-orange hue! that really is a thing! hahah but thanks for your kind words 🙂 big hugs to you! xox

  11. First of all – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Tonight’s podcast is one of those times when I missed something reading but caught easily listening to you! And thank you for so bravely sharing yourself with us!! The rest is at Patreon.

  12. You are incredibly beautiful, inside and out! The light of Christ shows brilliantly through you!

    God Bless you!

  13. Wow ten years, what a blessing! Hard work but powered by the only Source all the way through. You will probably never know all the ways you help others who read what you write but also those who watch you grow without saying a word-but learn from you. Congrats – keep moving forward and never give up. This is one follower and fan who knows that blessings by the downpour are still out there for you because that’s what God does for his children. Thanks for sharing the person God is growing inside of you. John

  14. First off, congratulations on getting through this with God’s gracious help. Secondly, couldn’t avoid noticing that you built your recovery “brick by brick.” Yellow bricks, no doubt! You and Dorothy.

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth 🙂 I really appreciate that. Yes, His gracious help indeed. And on my gosh! hahah you’re so right! Follow the yellow brick road! haha oh my gosh that just made a huge smile cross my face! 🙂 hope you’re having a great evening. hugs xox

    • thanks Michael. hah yeah, I guess it’s a pretty topic specific post! thank you for taking the time to read! i really appreciate it 🙂 have an awesome night! hugs xox

  15. As much as I love the picture, I am so glad you came out from under your profile “sunhat” because you are beautiful and you glow and instead of a hat shielding you from the sun, you are now allowing the light of the SON shining brightly over you and even brighter THROUGH you! Congratulations on your anniversary and you are a blessing!

    • Oh my gosh, Nina, thank you so much. This is such a special and beautiful comment. I really appreciate that. Yes, no longer am I hiding from His light!! 🙂 You are a blessing to me!! big hugs oxoxo

  16. This post really made me smile. I need to be around more positive feelings. I can’t pinpoint an experience where my colors died, because I don’t know that mine have ever been alive in the first place. I wish I had more friends like you living nearby.

  17. That is a wonderful milestone! And I want to echo the others in agreeing that your blog radiates positivity. Every day is a blessing!

  18. I love your testimony. It is always great to come across a young person who has discovered the love and grace of God. And your friend is correct. You definitely glow with color. That’s what happens when love wins.

  19. As I saw your photo at the end of your post, I agree…you are yellow! I’ve always loved the color yellow and didn’t know exactly why, but your friend described it well. Your eyes and smile give off that joy.

  20. One such inspirational post could be a lifechanger for many. I’m really touched. You have a long way to go my friend. Kudos for your work. Keep writing!

  21. What a post. What a fantastic post, really I mean it. no wonder why I like yellow so much. Dear friend, you are a warrior. I also like the idea of Soundcloud. I use it quite a bit myself… Perhaps that’s also something I should start doing not solely based on the idea that you’re doing it and I have to do it because of you. Soundcloud allows me to speak out on things that are impossible to type. Don’t get me wrong, I like typing but I like talking a whole lot more. Maybe that’s why I stopped studying journalism and began to study radio instead…

    May God Bless You and Make his light to shine down upon you just don’t get sunburnt.
    God Loves You This you should know for the Bible tells you so…

  22. It’s so interesting that you said the black coffin engulfed the colors that you knew had to be somewhere. In one of my treatment centers, another woman said something similar; that she felt dead and the blackness had absorbed her colors. But isn’t that what black is – the absorption of all colors? So perhaps black doesn’t represent death or absence. What if black represented exactly what it is: the colors that are so vibrant, so real, so deeply felt, that they become indistinguishable from each other? Meaning: they’re still there. The colors are still there. As long as we have the blackness, the colors exist. And if colors represent life, then it’s reasonable to believe that they can become overwhelming at times and some of us view the mixture as too much, so we do whatever we can to diminish it. Then we feel that blackness that we equate with death. But, to me, black is beautiful because it has the capacity to absorb every color, every feeling, every experience. It’s not a sign of darkness, to me. It’s a sign of everything that makes up life. That’s how I think of it, at least.

    • Oh wow, that is such an interesting perspective. thank you so much for sharing it, Nancy. I didn’t know that about blackness being the absorption of all the colors. How very powerful to think about. thanks for sharing it with me. big hugs xo

      • I tend to over-analyze and focus on the exact wrong thing, so I wanted to come back and say congratulations on your recovery anniversary! I am 35 and am still struggling, but that’s a good thing. The very definition of struggling is “strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance”, which means I haven’t given up. I love your blog and writing style and actually just linked your page in my latest blog – I hope you don’t mind. I can take it down if you would prefer. I don’t have many followers, as I’m mainly just needing an outlet for my thoughts, but even so, if you are uncomfortable with my link, I’ll definitely remove it. Anyway, I love how you can make your personality shine through the internet. That’s such a gift.

      • Thanks again Nancy. That’s such a powerful perspective – you’re right – you haven’t given up and that is something to celebrate. Cheering you on. ❤❤❤❤

  23. Once again, your post reminds me of a song lol. It’s titled “Pieces” by Red. God has a way of breaking us down and then remaking us into something even better than what we were before. Just remember that you are a daughter of the one true king, and that you are no longer defined by who you once were, but that your identity is found in Christ, and that is the only person whose opinion should matter to you.

    Here’s the song if you’d like to give it a listen.

  24. Oh my goodness. This almost brought a tear to my eye. I think it is crazy that your best friend told you of this truth on the day of your 10 year anniversary of recovery. God is so real, and he is shining through your story!

    Much love,
    Ashley |

    • Thank you so much Ashley. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. God is so good! (And so is my BFF! 🙂 ) thanks for stopping by and being so wonderful ! big hugs xo

  25. 10 YEARS of FREEDOM!! As they say in the baptist church….Won’t he do it? God is good. You have been beyond blessed and a blessing to many in this journey of recovery. You are YELLOW.

    Hold close to that friend who has stuck with you all these years. She is some GOLD in your life. Not many people have that at all.

    Thank-you for allowing us to hold your hand through this beautiful journey!


    • Thanks JV! Yes, that friend is truly gold. I like the sister I never had. I am so grateful for her in my life. Thanks for your kind words! You rock my friend. Big hugs xox

  26. Lovely. Ten years ago I was in the midst of an awful relapse from anorexia…now the world DOES seem full of freedom and possibilities because God has graced me with His guidance and love. I love that He is using you to reach and bless others through your testimony. 👍❤️

    • Thank you so much Lauren, for sharing your story. I’m sorry that we both have that in our pasts that connect us, but how amazing that we are both living in His freedom and peace. Thanks for the encouragement and I’m cheering you on! Hugs and love xox

  27. Great post! One of my close friends passed away from cancer last year and in her eulogy something very similar was said about how she embodied the color yellow. I think, knowing my friend and who she was, that might be one of the highest compliments you could receive. Reading your posts I can see how your friend would make this comparison. Thank you for sharing your “yellow” with the world!

    • Thanks so much Serena, for sharing this. I’m so sorry for your loss. Gosh that is so tough. Thank you for your kind affirmation. Sending you all the love in the world and keeping you and your friend’s loved ones in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs and love xox

  28. Inspiring post and I admire your journey through that dark period. So do not take this the wrong way, but instead of looking at God, why not look at yourself and thank yourself, because in my eyes you did this all yourself 🙂 You are strong, persevering and I take my hat off to you.

  29. I really enjoyed this article! Well written! At times we shall hit a low and suffer a little in life but we shall rise again! We shall fly again and be colourful again! in God we trust!

  30. Blessings on your 10 year anniversary! Thanking you (& God!) for the gift of freedom you have to share your journey with us so we can be touched with your yellows – & all the vibrant colors of the rainbow of God’s love in & through you.

    • Thanks Virginia. I really appreciate that. Yes! God is so good. The rainbow of His love- I love that. Thanks again for this touching reply. Hugs and love xox

  31. I’m extremely moved by this post because I think that’s where I am in my depression. Your friend hit the nail on the head too Caralyn. Thank you for letting God make you yellow again.

  32. What a wonderful Anniversary to celebrate! And as always you are doing so, BEAUTIFULLY! (Yellow and all…) Extra Hugs & Blessings to you on this special occasion, dear one.

  33. Have you ever went back and read over the comments of your posts – All I see is words like:Restoration, Transformation,Love,God,Rise,Openness,Touching,Blessings,Anniversary,Freedom,Journey,Encouragement, Happiness, etc. Oh what a totally refreshing feeling that has to be knowing where you came from and where you are at this point in your life. God is good. So glad that your Yellow is back!

  34. Made me think of how Yellow… sunshine .. light …. all the colors. 😉 like the colorful confetti in the coffin idea you did. Glad to see the Light is shining out!! Bless u. 🙂 #thanksforsharing

  35. So glad to hear you regained colors back into to you life, Yellow is my favorite color
    God is good and I love the way you use a mixture of text and images

  36. Congratulations on ten years, Caralyn. Yay God! Yay yellow! 🙂
    May you have many more years of yellow, too!

  37. I loved reading this! It’s good to be surrounded ourselves with others who reminds us of how good we are. Great smile.😊 You are definitely yellow.

    • Oh thank you so much! You’re right, I am so lucky to have my best friend in my life. she is such a blessing. Thanks for your kind words! big big hugs xox

  38. As I sit in my darkness, wondering if I ever had any color, I find this very encouraging and hopeful for myself. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and for helping me today.

  39. Aren’t best friends just the greatest?! It is so beautiful when God uses someone who has known us throughout every stage of life to affirm that we are back on track to who we were created to be 🙂

  40. Sometimes it feels like it takes forever to be restored in recovery, doesn’t it? Then all the sudden sometimes sees you shine and you realize you had it in you all along.
    Congratulations on 10 years!

  41. Congratulations on 10 years!!! It isn’t always to see the light at the end of a tunnel, but your story is a reminder that there is always hope. It is always possible to find the “yellow” no matter what life puts us through. Great post and timely for me.

  42. Congratulations on the 10 years! that’s amazing and so proud of you!!! Even though I don’t know you I think you are my friend and an amazing friend. Yellow definitely describes you like the picture for your blog 🙂 hope you had a fantastic day and keep being yellow

    • Oh my gosh what a beautiful and kind note! thank you so much!!! yes, I definitely consider you my friend as well, and I am so grateful that our paths have crossed 🙂 big hugs to you xoxox

  43. You are the brightest yellow I know 💛 you can change a cloudy day (we get those a lot in the UK 😂) into a bright happy day 💛 you have kept me going a lot more times than I have told you, I hope one day I’m lucky enough to meet you in person, maybe when you visit the UK 💛 love you to bits my beautiful friend 💛 always here for you when ever you need to talk 💛

    • Oh my gosh Benjamin, thank you so much. Gosh what a kind note. I am truly so touched by your generous words. I am so grateful to have you in my life. And yes! That would be amazing. Fingers crossed that our paths cross one day in person. Sending such big hugs xox

  44. Darling, I need your prayers, and what you are writing about here is what it is about….restoration.

    50 years ago, my first nephew (my parent’s first grandchild) was killed at the age of 5; he was run over by a truck in the street in front of his house. My sister had given him permission to play across the street. For these 50 years, we have made allowances for my sister’s behavior and attitude because of the horror of that experience. She has said recently that she has no intention of ever ‘dealing with’ Stede’s death.

    Because she was the oldest, and 8 years older than the next child, she was put in charge of the rest of us. She wears her resentment for that like a shawl, relating all of her limitations to her not having had a childhood and the burden of always having to be mindful of us. She seems to believe that what she has endured gives her license to be cruel. In truth, she was cruel and abusive to us when we were very young. She continues to be cruel, selfish, and dismissive of others.

    On Sunday, I wrote to her and told her that enough was enough…to find a way to heal. Yesterday, I forwarded to her Richard Rohr’s meditation on “Avoiding Transformation” ( I daresay this will not be received well. I am all about learning from our life lessons; I firmly believe that this learning is why we are given these lessons. But I had to learn my lessons and then let them go…otherwise my focus stayed on myself and I was not any benefit to anyone else. If there is more to learn, it will come up again.

    Please, Caralyn, pray for my sister, my family (particularly her two living sons), and me. It’s going to be a rough ride…unless she just dismisses my messages, altogether.

    • Thank you for sharing this with me. I am so sorry that you’ve had to walk this difficult road. I will definitely keep your sister, your family and you in my prayers. It’s always hard to put the pieces back together after such a tragedy. My heart goes out to you all. Hugs and love xox

  45. Such an encouraging post. I happened to be writing a post today about rebuilding a life within the confines of ME/cfs…I’m still in the early brick stages. Your post certainly gave a much needed lift. Thank you, and Congratulations.

  46. This is awesome! you are such an inspiration. I am so proud of you! I know i’m beginning my recovery but I hope my life is like this in ten years. It is hard to picture, but this gives me hope!

  47. WOW you are an awesome writer girl. You made me tear up and sob a little realizing my journey in life with those that added to my colors. I’m not sure about my color, but you are right about yours. You are colored warm “yellow” with kindness and joy from having suffered in your early life like I have. Pain and sorrow make us more sensible, less SELFISH and kinder to others. We tend to see the pain in others and are drawn to them to help them and love them at the same time. Many accept, others reject us like we have a disease. But that’s ok. God made us that way and he knows our hearts are pure from having gone through pain from very early in life. A sickness, or neglect or even disdain from one’s own family. God is is kind, he made great people like you!!!

  48. You shine brighter than any light combo the Empire State can throw out on the clearest of clear nights!! Empire State?? Try all of Manhattan plus the rest of the whole Tri State Area down there with stadiums, airport lights everything that can project, YOU are still brighter!!! Your light has come from a darkness that you have made into a reason to keep on smiling to keep in living, to keep on shining no matter what each day brings. God Bless you and hugs and love always!!

  49. I believe you are yellow but also orange and pink. Orange for the innate warmth you have toward people in loving them so well. Pink for your inviting-ness. Yes, it is a word now. So, God bless you, beautiful woman of God! Keep doing your thing. May God bless you in all the colors you bring to the world!!! XO

  50. The colors of my life, is also saying that the color of life is way beautiful than just yellow. It’s the grateful action towards your mother care that colors of life has started to blossom and people see the real colors of yours.

  51. Beautiful post, tried not to cry as I see the colours of my beautiful 9 year old fade as well with her psychological issues we are dealing with. This brings me hope. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Bianca. My heart absolutely goes out to you during this difficult time. Know that you and your daughter are in my prayers. Hugs and love xox

  52. You seem relationship minded. Let me tell you something I know about a person that will fall for you. (Assuming your straight). Putting God aside for just the moment, I can share an experience with you that might help.

    The man that REALLY loves what makes you tick will graciously offer up his worthless piles of dirt to you – as a humble offering as you are a work of art to him. He will be sad when he realizes he can’t give the world but would move heaven itself t try and give it to you, no questions asked. Careful with him though, he will be terrified of your responses.

    Great blog. I like reading it.

  53. Two posts read and both hit right in the feels. If you’re ever in Minnesota let me know, is I’d love to buy you a coffee and chat.

  54. What a lovely compliment from your friend. I truly believe that we can see the light in people–some shine brightly while others are dimmed from trauma or circumstances. However, we can gain back that brightness through healing.

  55. What a beautiful post! Let me dry my eyes and stop sobbing like a baby! What a wonderful God we serve that can take darkest shades and turn them into the most vibrant hues! I’m inspired! Shine on sister ! Xo

    • Thank you Sophie 🙂 awwww you’re so sweet! That is so true! He is so good and how incredibly blessed we are! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  56. Welcome back to the old new you Caralyn! Do not worry God still has plenty of color to offer you to explore in life too. Hope your adventure is rich and abundant as you are renewed day by day.

  57. Oh wow, I LOVE this so much! I’ll always think of the color yellow when I meet someone with those qualities. A person people are drawn to because they are genuine, warm, and compassionate. All the things I strive to be 🙂 And I never knew your name is Caralyn! So pretty. Take care, Jenny