Can keeping silent about struggling with an eating disorder lead to sickness? How does someone reclaim their identity from an eating disorder? What can happen on the road to recovery? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with Ivy Souter about her journey from illness to advocacy.


Ivy is a graduate student studying social work at Tulane University with the aspiration of becoming a clinician that treats eating disorders. Her passion for this work grew from her own struggle with anorexia. Ivy has been in recovery for two years and has been open about her experience since her diagnosis. She found there was a lack of education around eating disorders and resources for recovery in her community and even around the world. Advocating for herself at a young age with her family, friends, medical professionals and insurance companies made social work an easy choice for her career path. She looks forward to graduating this fall and beginning her new journey as a clinical social worker and pursuing her passion as a mental health advocate. Connect with Ivy on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram here (personal) and here (professional) Visit Ivy's website and blog, Always Fully Dressed with a Smile, to access some of her free mental wellness resources.


  • Illness to advocacy
  • Navigating high school
  • You are not alone

Illness to advocacy

Growing out of [the eating disorder identity] was really difficult and it was just realizing that I need to find things that I enjoy outside of this part of me, and then realizing that the way that I wanted to make a change in the world was by becoming a clinician, helping to treat eating disorders and be an advocate and be the person on the other side. (Ivy Souter)
Eating disorders can overwhelm how a person thinks about themselves. They may feel stuck in this certain identity and struggle to let it go because it may feel like they are letting themselves go. There is a space between the eating disorder and who you are. You can release the disorder and put something new and different in that space. Making positive change often comes from putting something good into the space where there was something bad before.

Navigating high school

At the worst of Ivy’s eating disorder, she was not engaging with friends, school, parents, or general teenage life. It took her about 2 years to get to a place where she could relish in simple joys, and shift her focus away from the disorder and onto her recovery, and then onto helping others around her.
I continue every day with recognizing moments where I may be falling back into old patterns, not completely, but in different ways, or recognizing where the eating disorder may still have a small grip on my life … I haven’t fully let go … but continuing my recovery means going to therapy. (Ivy Souter)
Recovery is a process. Take the time that you need and focus on the progress instead of the timeline.

You are not alone

Support is out there. Online support groups are available to you that you can be a part of. There are resources, courses, and people out there who can support you on this journey to recovery. It is possible, and there is help ready and waiting for you.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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