How Instagram Helped and Hurt My Eating Disorder Recovery


Around a year ago, I got discharged from my fifth (and hopefully final) eating disorder treatment stay. And like many others recovering from anorexia, I decided to join the #edrecovery side of Instagram. I met amazing people. I took pictures of my food. I posted photos of my newly “recovered” body. And I found a community of people who really try to support each other when they fall.

The problem was, I wanted so badly to fit in with the girls on these accounts, sometimes pushing myself to extremes to do so. I wanted to recover while being vegan and only eating out of mason jars. But then the trend changed to people having “pint parties,” where they eat a pint of ice cream every night. And then it became body building. It became almost as obsessive as my eating disorder. It was as if the eating disorder recovery world became its own disorder. Plus, with everything being recorded, it made it so much easier for me to compare my body from before and after. And compare meals. It was a different kind of competition, and this one was on display for anyone who wanted to see.

I eventually stopped really posting on the account because I couldn’t function. But I go on every so often to check out the posts from other people. Because they really are incredible warriors. I recently went on and decided to go back through my posts. It was half an hour later when my friend took my phone and told me to stop torturing myself. To stop comparing me now to me then. She had to remind me to see the light in my eyes and the bounce in my step. And to remember the tears and panic attacks that were happening back then.

I had to remember those photos don’t show everything. They show moments.

For some people, logging there journey on Instagram is really helpful. For me, it just became a different underground world. So if you aren’t recovering how someone else on the internet is… that’s OK. And if you are… that’s OK, too.

Eating disorders aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither is recovery. Don’t let photos fool you.

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.

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