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The recovery playlist: 15 songs against eating disorders

The recovery playlist: 15 songs against eating disorders

They say music soothe the savage beast… Will it be able to tame the ED (eating disorder) monster too?

Music has a special magic: it’s able to completely change your mood in a matter of seconds. When I was feeling low with recovery or there were too many thoughts in my head, one of my favorite distractions was listening to music that motivated me and made me feel like a total warrior. I introduce to you my playlist with the top 15 of these songs!

1. Cowboy Casanova - Carrie Underwood

That “boy” the song speaks about could perfectly be your ED. It has a good and attractive appearance, but it’s a liar devil that wants to trap you again in his toxic web. It’s an addiction: even if you want to get out, on the other hand you don’t want to fight the feelings it gives you. You can’t control it even if you have the false security that you can (that’s another of his traps); don’t play with fire. Don’t trust him, don’t look at him, don’t think you can just get a little bit closer and stop. Run away and don’t look back!

He looks like a cool drink of water
But he's candy-coated misery

2. El distractor - Esteman

(Song in Spanish). Here you can imagine that the guy who’s talking is the ED, and that way it will open up your eyes and help you discover its secret schemes. He’s a poor thing, he thought he’d have you forever but now you’ve dumped him, and he thinks you’re not serious about it, that he can reconquer you easily with a couple of tricks… but he’s so wrong! He’s going to try to: he’s going to play with suggestions, he’s going to present himself as something innocent, he’s going to tangle you up in subtle reasonings, but don’t trust him one bit, because behind that façade he’s still the same monster.

No, no soy más que un actor
Que jugando con tu sugestión
Me convierto, te miento y luego sonrío

3. Every single night - Fiona Apple

This song talks indeed about mental illnesses, and you’ll be able to relate a lot. Every day, and perhaps especially every night, it’s a fight with your brain. Bad thoughts are like cannon shots that set your body ablaze. Confusion percolates your mind and you don’t even know who you are and who the illness is. But when you can just let things out, find someone who understands you, release that tension… you feel everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s still a hard fight, but there’s hope.

Every single night's a fight with my brain

4. Fight song - Rachel Platten

The fight against an eating disorder is like the David vs Goliat one. We may feel very small and powerless before the waves we see coming. But that little fire we’ve lighted by being brave enough to start recovery will follow its way until it’s transformed us completely. Our little steps will be amplified with the help of the Grace and they’ll have big effects. Our whispers will shut up the screams in our mind. Even if others —professionals included— doubt that we’ll be able, or give us up for lost… we must never lose hope: battle the thoughts with your fight hymn.

I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

5. Fighter - Christina Aguilera

Do you find the idea of saying thank you to your eating disorder weird? But yeah, say thank you, because you can’t waste your days with resentment for what you’ve lived. Think rather in how that makes you who you are, all the fruits this fight is bearing in you. Thanks to this, you’re stronger, wiser, your soul has gone through a fire that has refined it. Every time you’ve raised again from a blow you’ve received, it’s been worth it, and there will come a time when you won’t fall again into his trap, you won’t let him confound you again.

So thanks for making me a fighter

6. Get it right - Glee Cast

It’s very common when we’re in this process to feel that all our effort and good intentions are worthless, that we’ve ended up failing again and hurting ourselves and our loved ones. We believe then that our “good” isn’t good enough, and we feel helpless. But when these things happen, we can always start again. Again and again, God never ceases to give us a new chance. We can’t change the past and we need to stop beating ourselves up for that.  Maybe we’ll fall again. But we’ll fall forward. There’s no time to throw pity parties. With all our wounds, we have to move forward. And eventually, no matter how long it takes, we’ll get there and show what we’re capable of.

Can I start again, with my faith shaken?

7. Grab the moment - Jowst

You spend your days trying to look like you’re fine, trying to keep calm when you’re just listening to screams and shouts in your mind. You ignore them with distractions but they’re jumping on you… KILL those voices in your head. Cut them off at once. It’s all or nothing, you can’t compromise. Don’t let the fear of the future hold you back. Focus on the present. You’ll feel like you’re losing control, but in fact you’re gaining it back from the claws of the ED. Follow that fire in your soul that guides you.

I'm gonna kill that voice in my head

8. Gravity - Hovig

I like to listen to this song as if it was God singing the lyrics. Dare to jump and fully enter recovery, without fear to fall, because He’s there to catch you. He won’t let you crash, He won’t let you down. Change the center of gravity of your life from the ED to God. If you let Him be with you, in exchange, He’ll let you lean on Him. He’ll be your wings when you’re flying, raising you up to get the highest goals. And if, exhausted, you can’t go on, He’ll let you rest in His heart.

I’ll catch you when you fall, when you’re falling free

9. I will survive - Gloria Gaynor

A song to fill you up with all the good vibes! Like in a toxic relationship, when you decide to leave your ED… you can’t imagine a life without it, you don’t know how that can be possible. Fear invades you and you’re petrified, taking the smallest step frightens you. But as you see the lies and the darkness you were in, and how you’re coming out of that and seeing that the world and happiness are completely different things from what you thought, the longing for your previous life turns into anger, anger that you must channel towards slamming the door in its face when it tries to come back for you. Save your life and love for what’s worth it. You’re not anymore a weak, dependent and controlled person; now you’re free and strong.

But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong

10. Jar of hearts - Christina Perri

Saying each and every word of this song to the devil of anorexia is an exercise of liberation and of letting the feelings out, as well as of remembering who he really is when he tries to come again as something good. He turned you into a ghost of who you are, you learnt to live only half alive. He makes you feel special, but you’re not special for him, just another one of his victims, another heart in his jar, his soul is cold as the ice. Now you’re gaining back your strength and the light in your eyes.

I learned to live, half alive

11. Release me - Agnes

There’s power in repeating again and again firmly that command: “Release me!”. You know the ED is wrong, but still it has you trapped and you can’t escape. You thought you were in control, now you know you’re not; you thought it was the right thing to do, now you know it’s not. However, you’re more afraid of a life without it that with it. You’re able to rationalize the most irrational things. It’s normal. Don’t be scared of those feelings. It doesn’t matter if you can say that command with all the conviction you’d like to. Saying it is enough, wanting to want is enough. Jesus Himself told us that a sign that would accompany those who believe is that “they will drive out demons” (Mark 16:17).

I know it's wrong
So why do I keep coming back

12. The middle of starting over - Sabrina Carpenter

Recovery is starting over from scratch… although, especially at the beginning, it feels like being in the middle of it, we aren’t yet able to start with a clean slate, we’re on it, taking baby steps, we can’t take off just yet. But we can see the immense horizon that’s opened for us now that we’re free. Maybe we’re afraid of it, but we can choose to see it all as an opportunity and an adventure, we can believe that the promises aren’t too good to be true. We have the chance to jump and fly, leave the darkness behind and conquer, through the hardest fight, the sweetest ending.

As hard as it seems
I hold my breath and just believe

13. I'll make a man out of you - Mulan

This is the war and we’ve come here to fight! With this song, I guarantee you end up wanting to cut your ED to pieces, and being 100% convinced you can do it. Like Mulan and her mates, maybe when you start recovery you aren’t ready for the battle and don’t know what’s coming up… but that’s not going to make the enemy have mercy, and quitting isn’t an option. Like Li Shang trusts his men and expects a lot from them, others trust and expect from you: your future self, your loved ones and, above all, God. Give it all your courage, strength, fire, energy, give it all you’ve got in you, and you’ll win the fight.

With all the force of a great typhoon
(Be a man)
With all the strength of a raging fire

14. Waterloo - Abba

To me, this song speaks about surrendering and trusting. In God, in recovery, in the person who’s helping you the most through it. In fact, although we always speak about the recovery journey as a fight, it’s not so much about doing as it is about letting go. It’s not about trying to have more and more control and be more rigid, but rather about learning to relax and to go with the flow. That’s why many times we might feel like we’re losing, because it’s as if we were giving in, succumbing to what we’d always said we weren’t going to… but the truth is we’re winning!

And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose

15. Who you are - Jessie J

In a situation like this, it’s easy to lose track of what’s real about ourselves. From confusing our thoughts with the ED ones, to see and feel our body in a completely different way from what others tell us it is. And all these contradictions, and the screams we can’t help listening in our head, may cast doubt on the whole journey and make us want to desert. But we must keep going in this direction, that deep down we know is the right one. It’s hard, and it’s normal to be sad and cry, it doesn’t mean we’re weak or there’s something wrong with us. We must follow the way and allow us to believe, dream, trust, because we owe that to ourselves, because the illness doesn’t determine the truth about ourselves: we’re made for much more.

Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing

Listening to these songs and immersing yourself into its lyrics and chords is much better than listening to the ED thoughts. Silence the latter with the former and recharge yourself with positivity and strength to continue. Less noise, and more music!

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