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

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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.

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.

Originally published: September 13, 2016
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