You Don't Have to Wait Until You're ‘Sick Enough’ to Treat Your Eating Disorder


The day I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder was the worst day of my life. Even before I was diagnosed I knew I had one. My friends told me. My parents, who are both psychologists, knew it too. I was admitted to the eating disorder clinic right after I turned 13.

It took me a couple of months to even admit I had a problem. After I realized I did, I had convinced myself I wasn’t sick enough to recover yet. So, a few months later, I managed to lie my way out of the clinic and return to my eating disorder behaviors. I desperately wanted recovery, but first, I thought, I needed to hit rock bottom.

I spent the last semester of my freshman year of high school in a residential treatment center, 800 miles away from home. Even when I ended up in rehab, I still thought I wasn’t sick enough. Somehow, something inside me changed. I don’t know what, how, why or when, but it did. All of a sudden, after seven weeks of fighting the treatment, I gave in. I dedicated myself to getting better.

It took me a long time to figure out, but now, I have discovered what I realized made me change. I was never going to be sick enough. I was never going to hit rock bottom.

Because when I would be “sick enough” is when I would be dead.

For years, I was trying to become “sick enough” so I could get better. The pain I was feeling was unbearable. All I wanted was for it to be gone, but it was never enough.

The mindset I had wasn’t something I created myself. It was a game my eating disorder was playing with me, telling me it would go away when I fit in size x pants or weighed x pounds. It was all a trick.

To the people out there who feel the same way as I did: You will never be “sick enough” to recover. Being “sick enough” is a myth. You can start recovery at any time, at any stage of the illness you are in.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

Stop trying to hit rock bottom because rock bottom is death. You don’t have to be “sick enough” to start recovery. You don’t have to be “sick enough” to realize you are enough just the way you are right now.

Image via Thinkstock.

 If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Eating Disorders

image of a person looking up, filled in with images of trees

To the Eating Disorder That Promised Me Everything

Note: Ed is a reference to an eating disorder or E.D. He takes the shape of many eating disorders, such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder. He is not a real, physical person, but may be portrayed as so to help patients struggling with eating disorders to disassociate from the illness. It’s a [...]
woman looking out window

What Living With an Eating Disorder Has Taught Me

It’s big-headed, pretentious, conceited and self-centered. But it’s true, and the reason I know this is because no one can ever understand a person’s life or point of view until they crawl into their skin and walk around in it. Nobody knows what my life so far has been like. People can empathize, and perhaps [...]
digital painting of girl walking in the mist, oil color on canvas texture

When the Voice of My Eating Disorder Comes Back Inside My Brain

Even though I’ve been in recovery for a good amount of time, sometimes my eating disorder voice worms his way inside my brain. He tries to coax me into relapse, sings songs of restriction and weight loss and control. Sometimes, it almost seems tempting. I remember the compliments. I remember the attention. I remember playing the [...]
Pile of women's swimsuits on a wood floor

Turning Down the Volume of My Eating Disorder's Voice in the Summer

I set out with a goal in mind: finding a swimsuit. Easy enough, right? No. This can be a dreadful task. Every summer I cringe when I think of having to try on last year’s suit for fear that it may not fit. This summer was no different. I found myself wanting to go out and [...]