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To the Person Starting Treatment for Your Eating Disorder

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Hello, friend. First of all, I’d like to say I’m proud of you. Whether you’re adamant that you don’t have a problem and are being persuaded into this, or you’re finally realizing something isn’t right and you can’t handle it on your own, you’re here reading this. That’s one step closer than where you were yesterday to a life of freedom. Pride yourself in that.

I know how you may be feeling right now. Hell, you’re probably feeling more emotions all at once than you ever have before in your life. That’s OK. It’s normal. As of now, recovery is something unknown; it’s terrifying. You’re feeling scared, nervous, excited, hopeful and confused all at once. Your eating disoder has been a way to cope with all these feelings, and now you’re stepping into uncharted territory where you have to find new pathways to deal with life. You don’t know if you’re ready to tackle this. I’m here to tell you that you are.

I’m not going to lie; recovery is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. Whether you’re in outpatient, inpatient, or anything in between, the eating disorder has to go. You’re going to be talking about things, perhaps horrific, tragic things that you’ve been to ashamed or afraid to talk about before, that aren’t always going to be pleasant. You’re going to look deep within to discover why you’ve clung to this faulty life preserver for so long, while at the same time learning to give yourself grace because this is an illness, and it’s not your fault. You’re going to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food, and in time, will realize a slice of cake won’t be the end of the world.

There’s going to be times when you want to give up. It’s going to be difficult, uncomfortable, and you’re probably going to want to throw your hands in the air and say, “Fuck this.” The eating disorder seems so much easier. It’s comfortable. It’s easy to limit your intake, purge or eat until you feel like you’re literally going to explode than face your demons. You’d rather be numb and dying than doing this work. Don’t give in to that voice.

In time, you’re going to start noticing changes — small at first, but as you move farther along, you’ll see how much progress you’ve made. It might be hard to deal with, but there’s a small part of you that will be proud of yourself. Cling to that part with everything you can. You’re going to have an amazing support system behind you. It may be small, it might be large, but either way, it’s mighty, and everyone in it knows you can beat this and is ready to help you get there. They will celebrate every victory with you, or be there for you with lapses (which will happen, it’s normal!). Utilize them; they’re more valuable than you can realize.

You can beat this. Whether treatment takes months or years, a day will come when your eating disorder’s voice may be nothing more than a faint whisper, if you hear it at all. You can realize your worth and discover you deserve so much more than living like you were before. That day might seem impossible or too far away, but, my dear, it is possible.

You can do this, warrior. You are not alone. I have faith in you. 

Go kick some ED ass.


Someone who’s been in your shoes.

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.

yoga map that says "hope"

Originally published: March 4, 2016
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