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What I Learned From Making Someone Else My Reason for Eating Disorder Recovery

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Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

My boyfriend was my biggest support system through my eating disorder beginning my recovery. Before being admitted to treatment, he was there. He would hold me until I stopped sobbing because of something I’d eaten. He would make sure I wasn’t sleeping past 4 p.m. He made sure I was eating every day. He told me I was beautiful and I was more than my disorder. He got me to seek treatment.

I didn’t think I was sick enough to be admitted. He knew I was. He told me how much it hurt him to see me slowly killing myself. He told me I needed more help than I was getting. He wanted me to recover. So I called.

While our friends were outside drinking beers, he sat with me in my living room as I got a phone call from the admissions nurse. He held me as I realized I was going to leave my whole life behind.

He called me before dinner and before bed every night on the unit. He visited me every chance he got. He told me about his day and tried to make my stay feel “normal.” He was so excited when I was able to do partial hospitalization instead of inpatient.

He went with me for my first meal off the unit. He held my hand and ate every bite with me. He watched me to make sure I wasn’t anxious. He told me I was beautiful.

He made me realize I had a future. He made me realize I couldn’t have my future with him and keep my eating disorder. I picked him. I drove hours to see him on every free weekend I had and he drove to see me on his. He kept me going through treatment until I was out.

When I got back, he didn’t leave. He stayed by my side. He made me finish my meals. He read menus to me when I cried because the calories were listed. He told me he loved me and he was so glad I was recovering. I was glad too. I wasn’t in a relationship with my eating disorder anymore.

But relationships come and go and this one was no exception. When he left, it felt like my future did also. So here I am, back in a relationship with my disorder. My boyfriend became my ex and my eating disorder filled that void. I’m still working on wanting to recover for myself, but we all have to start somewhere. My journey through recovery isn’t linear. There will be small relapses, and that’s OK. As long as I get back up when I fall, I can keep going.

Thank you for making me want to start recovery. I’m so thankful you pulled me out of the spiral I was in. Now it’s my turn. And this time, I’ll do it for myself.

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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Thinkstock photo via Yuliyart.

Originally published: April 4, 2017
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