Other posts on this topic:
Shelly Speaks, two years after THIN.
Shelly from THIN documentary, 5 years later
 Polly Rests (story of her suicide)
More from one who knows


Shelly from the HBO Documentary THIN has something to say today.


I wake up every morning and ask myself….

Is it worth it? 

Is it worth fighting all the negativity in my mind today?  Is it worth having put trust my in others so often because I cannot trust myself at times?  Is it worth eating and gaining weight?  Is it worth feeling feelings I haven’t allowed myself to feel in so long?  Is worth taking on responsibility when I have run from it in the past?  Is it worth having to talk about things that bother me instead of internalizing them and having them subconsciously wreck my mind?  Is it worth being accountable to myself and others in my life?  Is it worth growing up?  Is it worth taking a risk getting hurt again?  Is it worth getting close to others and letting others in? Is it worth taking risks and possibly failing?  Is it worth taking care of myself…showering, brushing my teeth, my hair?  Is it worth getting dressed? Is it worth finding out who I am and doing what life wants me to do?  Is it worth surrendering to everything I thought was right?  Is it worth learning new ways to cope?  Is it worth setbacks?  Is it worth not knowing what the future holds?  Is it worth giving up the control I thought I had? IS it worth finding out things that could hurt and overwhelm me? Is it worth being so anxious that I can’t even sit still? IS it worth giving up my identity that I have held on to for so long?  Is it worth challenging TV, internet, and radio who say I have to fit some ideal? 

Is it worth it to keep going down the road of recovery?

Do I want to lose my family, friends, and most importantly MYSELF?  Do I want a life of pain and hurt and suffering?  Do I want to die?


So I guess it is worth it to keep fighting no matter how scary and hard it gets.


This entry was posted in Life Perspective, Self Esteem and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Worth

  1. Mrs. B. says:

    Dear Shelly,

    I don’t know if you knew how important that message was to me today. It was like you answered all the questions my daughter was tearfully asking last night.

    If you don’t mind, I copied and pasted your words to share with her tonight. She and her fellow residents saw “Thin” while she was inpatient. This will be very meaningful to her.

    I love you. Thank you.

    Mrs. B.

  2. Anon. says:

    this was very inspirational to me today…I really needed an extra boost. I used to struggle with an eating disorder, but have been successfully recovered for two years now. :)
    two of my dogs, louie and rigel, have passed away both within the past two weeks…i had them for the past 12 years. they meant the world to me. reading this lightened my day–even though my problems aren’t ED-related, what shelley said is very relateable to every day events.

    thanks for posting, MamaV :)

  3. KJosie says:

    Now this is what i’m talking about MamaV :) Good job!

    Thanks for something so thought-provoking Shelly. I went through all these kindof questions through the initial months of recovery, and in the end the answer was yes to almost every one.
    I do struggle a bit though, wondering if it was worth it. EDs are such a good coping mechanism – now my emotions are expressing themselves in different ways – crazy moodswings, paranoia, panic attacks, psychosomatic symptoms (fainting, throwing up, etc), and my series of suicide attempts. EDs numb all your feelings and give you a meaning to life – it’s overwhelming without that stability. I wonder if i’m actually risking my life by being recovered, ironic as that seems – would i be safer if i were still within my ED? Scarily, i think the answer may be yes.

  4. anotheranonymous says:

    KJosie- left a message for you under previous post.

  5. Mrs. B. says:


    I just don’t believe that. ED wants you Dead. You know that. I just think you are dealing with a LOT of demons who want you dead. Somehow, some way, we will get rid of ALL of them.

    I love you to death. There HAS to be a way for us to get you well and KEEP you well.

  6. kris says:

    I have heard these same questions from my daughter – only hers seems to be framed with the words, “I don’t see the point in…” Like nothing in life matters anymore.

    I am thankful that you are able to answer all of your questions with a “YES” and I am hopeful that one day my daughter will do the same.

    I needed to read this – and I am forwarding your post to my sweet girl :)

    God bless you!


  7. KJosie says:

    Mrs B – i wish i knew how. I am pretty sure the ED is the safer option actually. My ED was never serious (in my unprofessional opinion) – the main aspect of my ED was binge-eating, which would only kill me in the longterm, unlike overdoses which of course could be a lot quicker. There was restricting and a bit of overexercising and purgeing, but mostly it was the psychological aspects and the bingeing that was distressing.

  8. chelsey says:

    i have asked myself these questions so many times.

    ive been in recovery for over a year, and everyday, these sorts of questions are present in my mind.

    i cant express how much comfort it gives me to know, im not the only one whose feeling this way and, questioning things.

    thank you so much for this post.

  9. Newt says:

    It is so refreshing to finally see a much needed positive post. I have just begun my journey of recovery and sobriety after numerous failed attempts and what was written are questions I ask myself to keep me going on this path. There are days when I just want to give up, return to my self destructive ways and take the well worn path. I sit back have a smoke (sorry just a vice I am really not ready to deal with quite yet) and think about what did I achieve going down that route? The only answer that comes to mind is NOTHING. What did I gain? NOTHING. Today (so far) has been one of my better days. Tomorrow? No idea and it scares me guess it is about time for a smoke.


  10. ck2r says:

    As someone who is trying out recovery for the first time I ask myself these questions so many times a day. As I fight to touch the bowl of noodles in front of me I have to ask myself. “Is it ever going to be worth it?”
    I guess I have to have the confidance that yes it is and that one day my life may be worth something.
    A doctor asked me what I was going to do with my life now that I was stripping away my ED and letting myself live. I simply ask her
    “What Life?”
    So this was an amazing post
    Keep fighting Shelly!

  11. Mrs. B. says:


    Please never think that purging is NOT an immediate threat. You KNOW that it can cause either a quick and horrifying, or a long and drawn out and horrifying death. I have carried a picture in my mind of a woman crumpled and slumped beside her toilet having died of a ruptured esophagus. It is my greatest fear of death for my daughter. She is so very beautiful. That would be such an ugly death.

    In my devotions this morning, I was reading Philipians 3 and 4. This is one of those cases, where I think that a newer translation (Not KJV) is far easier to understand. I encourage anyone who is interested to take a look at these verses – preferably in an NIV translation. Paul, of course, faced many trials and is often inspirational for people facing adversity. I think his words were particularly beneficial to me this morning….and really related well to me as I think of all of our struggles.

    Ladies, we can all do this. And it IS worth it.

    Love you all.
    Mrs. B.

  12. me says:

    aha….. this is bla bla for me.

  13. Alex says:

    I definitely like this post. This really makes people think in a positive and realistic way…
    These are the kind of questions we should be asking ourselves.
    Couldn’t have put it better myself. 😉

    Hugs Alex

  14. Sass1948 says:

    hey that’s a cool post. an internal monologue of many, i imagine. but u know, sometimes the answer to all those questions is “no”, which is hard to swallow – for many people it’s not worth it.
    All the others with hope & stuff, then cool it’s totally worth it :-)

  15. Mrs. B. says:

    How old are you? I just have one question for you. Not knowing what the sum and total of your life will turn out to be, how do you KNOW that the answer is “No”. You will grow and change your whole life. If you don’t give recovery a chance, you will never have the chance to know what you have missed. Right?

  16. kim says:

    my question was not was it worth it but was i worth it. i am finding i am not or more accurately i know i am not

  17. Mrs. B. says:

    I don’t think it changes how I would respond. Today, at this minute YOU may not feel you are worth it, but in 10 years, you might be better recovered. You might be someone’s mother….someone’s beloved. You might be doing great and meaningful work…or you just might not be feeling so low. What is today, may not be what will be. Particularly if you are able to attain some level of recovery.

  18. kim says:

    mrs b i wish that were all true and i love that you are kind enough to say it. i didnt sleep last night but stayed up all night crying and planning. it will never be the right time but i dont want it to be a memory that use to be a happy time either. i need to get past my mom and nieces bdays. thankfully they are coming quickly and then i can find my peace. i just want to stop the pain. thank you for always being so kind and making me feel like maybe i could have done it. i love ya, xxxkim

  19. Mrs. B. says:

    I am going to pray that some little piece of joy comes your way and that you will see it and feel it and remember what I have said to you. In this moment, you may feel with all of your being that this is the right answer. Tomorrow may not feel so desperate. I also pray that you sense in your heart the heartbreak that your mom and your niece will feel if you do not hang on, and that for now, you hang on for them if not for you.

  20. Arrie says:

    I needed to read that. I’ve not been doing so well lately. That really was amazing to me, to read. To know that you are someone who is struggling with this, but now has the means to answer yes to those questions, it amazes me. This will def. give me something to ponder today.

  21. Mrs. B. says:

    Ponder this, too. Think how amazing and helpful Shelly is. Think then, that she once felt that SHE was not worth it. Do YOU think her recovery was worth it?!?

  22. mamavision says:


    It gets the best of us doesn’t it?

    I think the way to combat fear is to experience death of a loved one or a near death of ourselves. You know that awareness you have in the day(s) after the death of a loved one? That respect and regard for our own precious life that fades as we go back to our daily routine?

    Try to hold on to it.

    I always say I live with the reality of death daily. I say this because of several unexplained, unfair, odd deaths that have occurred in my family since I was a kid. These experiences left me with a gift.

    The gift is that death is very real to me. I don’t think it will be someone else, I think it will be my loved one or myself. Sounds kind of morbid but this thought keeps me alive.

    Afterall, none of this matters, all our day to day nonsense, when we are suddenly faced with the possibility of death.

    We flutter around all consumed in nothingness until God knocks us into reality and we realize how very lucky we are to have the opportunity to get out of bed in the morning and live the day.

    Who cares?

    This one helps me a lot. Do you know that “they” don’t really care about your issues?

    Here I am referring the general public, or those acquaintances we are all so concerned about impressing. Sure, they judge you and look you up and down, but in a less than a minute they are on with their day, on with their own fears. Yet we believe, we imagine they are still stuck on us. Stuck on what we aren’t doing, aren’t saying, aren’t looking like, aren’t living up to.

    To all of them I say – who cares damn it!

    The freedom in not caring is beyond your wildest imagination. This freedom allows you to explore this amazing world and see it in all its miraculous glory.

    How sad it is that we stay in our heads, troubled by the past, the current, the future – never looking up and breathing and seeing the reality of opportunity as our feet.


  23. Sass1948 says:

    no, when ppl close to me die, it doesn’t make me wanna hold onto thoughts of how precious life is, it makes me realize how crap life is & that i wanna die quicker. that’s my reality my dears.

    (p.s. there’s no helping some ppl is there?! lol am aware how negative this sounds but it is my truth. course i don’t say this out loud (that’d be annoying)..only to therapist)

  24. kim says:

    mrs. b, thank you. i am praying too, i really am trying to find something or purpose. it is really hard though when all i can seem to do now is cry and even though i try to not, i think of dying. i do love my mom, niece and all of my family deeply i just feel that i am hurting them anyway since i am not really me right now. your words are very kind and soothing to me. thank you. love kim xxx
    mama v i think you are right people wont care beyond the minute and will move on with their lives. that gives me a bit of comfort. i did have that near death thing happen once (the day my niece was born actually). i think if she had not already had her dad die while my sister was pregnant that i would not have made it. i did appreciate life then like you said and have even tried to feel that again but when i am so down i just cant find that place. i even tried to fake it and see if it would make me feel better. maybe it is my depression but i always wonder what if that was suppose to be my time to go. i really have no answers and have been praying to find reason or hope or anything really. i love that you have shelly posting here now, her positive messages are awesome and inspirational. and mamav, i know you dont like the suicide talk and that is why i had been gone for a bit but a_mother said some were worried and wondered where i was at. maybe i should have stayed gone but the people here are helping me get through some days and i appreciate them and you and this site for that. i dont really know what the future may or may not hold i am just trying to hold on minute by minute right now. if i should go though i will.

  25. Amber/vanity900/cult66623 says:

    I know my post isn’t going to be long and meaningful like the other ones but on this one i just wanted to say :
    Shelly~ im proud of you for getting better, your a great inspration and you give me strenght to keep fighting <3.

  26. Aileb says:

    Is it worth it?

    Is it worth pretending that I’m sticking to my meal plan and that I’m looking forward to growing out of my double 00’s?

    Is it worth pretending that I’m not sitting here addicted with this emptiness and strumming my bones?

    I’ve tried …living with the lie.

    Telling them over and over that I’m working on recovering. I’ve said it so many times ..maybe if I say long enough, I’ll believe it.

    It’s not the fact that I’m anorexic that brings me down, it’s the fact that I CAN’T Feel IT in me to recover.

    That’s my internal struggle,
    the big fear that keeps me mesmerized with this void.

    Is FAKING wanting recovery worth it?

    Is wearing the layers, putting on a nightly magic act with my dinner, and hiding behind the medicated smile worth it? :)

    Maybe, this makes me the antagonist here. Maybe, this just makes me mentally ill?

    But I’m faking it for my family. So yeah, I guess it’s worth it.

    So I’ll go back to pretending to pout because I just couldn’t gain the weight I was supposed to gain this week. They’ll pretend to be disappointed and optimistic about tomorrow.

    We both know were faking it and that I’m living on borrowed time but somehow faking it makes the lopsided smiles and redden eyes less unreal.

  27. missA says:

    I am glad to know Shelly is still out there, still fighting. It gives hope to those who are trying to recover. Am I worth it? Sometimes I don’t think so. I fight for my children. My children deserve it, so I fight for them.

  28. Mrs. B. says:

    Once you have children, you are obligated to the struggle and the fight. You are their model, above all others. You can tell them, you can show them, you can teach them, but ultimately, it is your EXAMPLE…..that they will see. It is tough, but watching your kids learn to love, to trust, to persevere….so worth it. And all of that comes through you….and how you face your trials.

    I hope you are doing OK. I hope that this day brings some renewed hope. I go back to my devotional yesterday, which included these words:

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phillipians 4:8

    Do not focus on the bad, Kim. Look around you. See what is good and lovely. Think of your niece, and her smile. Think of your mother’s love for you. Maybe tell her that you love her and are sorry for the pain that you have caused. Think of the spring which is right around the corner. Think of what is good in yourself and reach for that. You are beautiful and so worth it.

    We Love you,
    Mrs. B.

  29. Mrs. B. says:


    How is your recovery being supported, professionally?

    Why are you wanting to hang on to your ED? What is he giving you? How is he protecting you? What are you afraid of if you give him up?
    Can you see that he wants you dead? Can you see how the people who love you want your life?

  30. Aileb says:

    Mrs. B.

    I don’t live near professional help. If I was drug addict or had an alcohol problem, then there would be help around the corner for me. I don’t believe in drinking my calories so booze are out of the question

    “Why are you wanting to hang on to your ED?”

    I was never the smartest, the fastest, or most popular…but starving and making my the contents of my plate disappear without touching my lips, has became the measure of my self-worth and identity.

    This is who I am and I don’t remember how to be any other way. If i’m stripped of it and the behaviors, then who am i? It hurts to even think of giving this up, so that ‘s why I hang on~~~

    On my blog, I have like 3 pages were I talk about my mom and how the craving for life crept away. It might not make sense but it explains why i’m like this.

  31. Mrs. B. says:

    I forgot to attach your blog to my “favorites”. Would you mind giving me the address again? SORRY!

    If you die, Aileb, if you starve yourself, you will have not identity at all. So ED is fooling you. He’s lying to you. Your identity is not wrapped up in ED. Your DEATH is wrapped up in ED.

    Is there a college anywhere near you? Most colleges have groups of girls meeting for Eating Disorder support.

  32. Aileb says:

    Mrs. B.,

    this is the link to my blog:


    On Dec 2nd , I wrote about having my first bulimic thought with my mother standing 2 feet away.

    I am anorexic but she would make me eat and I felt so helpless and I had no choice but to become bulimic.

    I eat in front of her …until she smiles.. then, I get rid of it…I know that I’m destroying my body but sometimes she feels so helpless because she doesn’t know how to help me so I eat.

    Does your daughter ever feel guilty about disapointing you? because the guilt cuts me up. It’s like I deserve the pain of throwing up because I can’t eat properly.

    I had to drop out of college because this has pretty much taken over.

    thanks for listening

  33. mamavision says:

    Hi Sass: I see what you mean, and I hesitated posting my thoughts to this audience for that reason. I believe you speak for many.

    So where does this negativity come from? Do you create it or are you naturally wired to be “glass half empty?”

    Part of me is starting to believe we are all wired a certain way. I am naturally an optimist. Actually, an optimist to a fault. I know this about myself because I am just like my Dad. He looks at the bright side of things even when it is totally unrealistic. We give people chances, even after being burned. We see the good, not the bad. I feel lucky to have this gene.

    Is it a gene or did I live in an environment that taught me to see the world this way? Sure I get down, I think life sucks and I think everyone is out to get me…but its fleeting. I always find myself looking at the opportunity and the effort to persevere is not much.

    My dad and I always say it would be great if someone invented a self esteem injection! To tell you the truth, I believe that is what psychiatric medications can do for many. Depression and anxiety are often the culprits behind negative thoughts, and if you get balanced you find that suddenly the world is not such a bad place.

    Is this somehow tricking yourself into seeing the world in a brighter light?

    I don’t believe so,


  34. carla says:

    dear shelly,me so much hope in all your posts so happy for you that it is better to myself one day I hope I can stay like you!

  35. christen says:


    I was at renfrew shortly after you were. I am struggeling right now. If you would like to be co-supporters, my myspace is:


  36. j* says:

    you inspire me.

  37. Kaylan says:

    Hey, that post leaves me feeling folsioh. Kudos to you!

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  39. Pingback: Shelly from THIN documentary...five years later | Eating Disorder Resource Anorexia Bulimia Help

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