Thank you all for such encouraging and uplifting comments this week! Spreading awareness about eating disorders is so important to me. I have lost too many friends & loved ones to these devastating diseases. They are not a joke or a phase that someone goes through.
There are many myths about eating disorders, who they affect, and what they may look like. A few things I have learned over the years may also help your view and understanding of eating disorders.
- Eating Disorders do not discriminate, they affect both men and women, all different ages, race, religion, status, relationship status & socioeconomic status.
- Environment and genetics can influence the root of someone’s eating disorder.
- Eating disorders are more than anorexia or bulimia; others include binge eating disorder, orthorexia, compulsive exercise, night eating, pica, EDNOS.
- You can’t tell by someone’s size whether they have an eating disorder.
- Recovery IS possible.
Thankfully I also have many friends who have been supportive and also willing to share their own stories. I am inspired and encouraged by my beautiful friends! They have reminded me not to give up on my own journey!
*Note- some names have been changed for privacy*
Here are the questions my lovely friends answered for me
1. How old are you/they?
2. How long have you/they suffered?
3. How has it impacted your/their life?
4. Are you/they currently in recovery? If so, how long?
5. What advice would you/they give to someone who feels they are struggling?
How old are you? 38
How long have you suffered? 20 years. It started before I was a teenager.
How has it impacted your life? While I was actively eating disordered, I thought I was one of the “lucky” ones with no negative effects. Now that I’ve been in recover for a number of years. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been dealing with arthritis, heart issues, my teeth crumble, and I’ve had other health issues.
Are you/they currently in recovery? If so, how long? YES!! A decade (I never thought freedom from this was a possibility)!
What advice would you/they give to someone who feels they are struggling? You are worth recovery. You are worth the fight. Recovery is not an even plane. There are really good days, and really bad days. How you respond to bad days is everything. You are loved. Let those in your life help you, support you, love on you. You are not a failure, or ugly, or flawed, or alone. You are ENOUGH. Recovery is possible, and you deserve it.
I am 34 years old.
I am not sure when it truly began for me but sometime as a very small child…definitely elementary school.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with food. Even though I have developed “healthier” views of myself and food over time, I still feel like it controls much of my daily thoughts. it is a life-long battle.
I have never done any real recovery program. The most effective way I have found to keep a handle on my weight is being a member of weight watchers for many years. It has held me accountable and helped teach me some healthier eating habits.
I would advise someone who is struggling to find someone that can talk to. I have no one. I have become more open about it over time but still feel shame sometimes. It would have helped to have someone to talk to or mentor me through my body image and eating issues.
I am 34.
I have struggled for 21 years.
No one really knows. Secretive lifestyles are very prevelant. I hide most feelings about everything. My metabolism is shot. People think you just want attention so in turn you are a liar.
Not currently in recovery
Recovery Advice: Reach out. Reach out. Reach out. And be careful with yourself.
I was age 19-22 when in the midst of my ED.
I severely suffered for 3-4 years with restriction and overexercise, and still at times have waves of struggle but I now know how to better handle them
Honestly it has made me 100 TIMES stronger…it was terrible in the midst of the struggle but my faith in my Lord is stronger, my relationship with my husband is better, my relationship with my body is better…I was blessed to get help quickly and that likely played a huge role
Not currently recovering
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. ALWAYS PRAY. Know this isn’t something wrong with you…it is an illness, you are perfect just the way you are!
I began to engage/exhibit behaviors at age 10. Admittedly, sometimes find myself slipping into habits today.
I never felt like I could eat normally around people in the midst of it, so I would restrict, and binge/purge later. When people knew, I felt as though they were watching me and so I became more secretive about it.
I consider myself in recovery, though somedays I might slip up and “forget” to eat, or simply eat too much to avoid feeling.
I would say I began the journey nine years ago.
Seek help, talk to people that you love and trust about your thoughts. There is so much support out there and available… use it! Ask for accountability – and throw away the scale!
I was 18 when I started purging through exercise and vomiting. But looking Back strange food habits started much earlier. Extreme calorie restricting and constant vomiting of anything I ate (bulimia mixed with anorexia)took up three years of college and two hospital and rehab stays.
From 18-22 was my worst. Recovery started at 22 and took until about 32 to be really in full recovery.
It really held me back from reaching my potential in my field. I put all my focus into food and then into staying alive and recovery that there wasn’t much time to focus on how to advance my career. I lost a lot of friends and trust. I would completely isolate myself just to binge and purge and would lie to my family and friends. Also constantly being the girl with the mental illness gets exhausting for those around you. I cost my family tons of money not only for the food that was wasted but for the tremendous medical and counseling bills. And long term health worries. I’ve had to have repeat heart exams, dental work(I was lucky that mine were minor cavities) and the ever constant heartburn and worry that I have done irreversible damage to my esophagus that won’t burden me until later in life.
Three years. But There is still an occasional time I will vomit if my life stressors are out of control. I don’t consider it a relapse. The difference being it’s an isolated event and no longer pushes me to repeat the behavior. Maybe happens once every six months.
My advice is this. Everyone struggles with something. Having an eating disorder was just my battle. But NO ONE you know has it all together so stop feeling alone and letting guilt literally eat away at you. YOU are not your eating disorder but but it is a part of you. It is telling you something so listen to it, own it, take charge of it by fighting through the uncomfortableness. A lot of recovery says to separate the ED from you but I think it’s the opposite. Embrace it, learn from it dare I say love it because it is a part of you and love the bad with the good. Recovery for me was a long process, much longer than I thought it would take. Your recovery pace is perfect for you and for what you need to learn from this process. Physically and mentally it was hard for me to stop restricting and purging, until I figured out that the key to avoiding the purge was to sit through the binge and try to bring back awareness there. Stopping the restricting was all about letting go of my safe foods. Really adding back in healthy fats was critical as well as lots of loving affirmations.
I suffered for about 10 years
It totally changed my life. I feel as though I missed out on my entire teenage years and early adulthood. It ruined the dreams I had of going to college and really enjoying life… It wasted my relationships, my time, my money.
I’ve currently been in recovery for a little over 8 years…. 🙂
To someone who feels they’re struggling: you’re not alone! Talk to people, journal, whatever it takes… The worst thing we can do is be silent. Once you begin your journey of recovery, you will have days where it feels like you’ve slipped too far back into it and there really is no help but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Hold on to the little victories and don’t give up!
I have had issues with food/weight since I was abused as a child, around age 6, so about 22 years.
I have gone from anorexic to bulimic to over exercising to orthorexia to secret binge eating. It destroyed relationships (3 different engagements broken), caused many health issues, infertility, deep shame and hatred of myself.
I have been in focused recovery for about 5 years, although I have had moments of weakness where I still binge or try to burn off all the calories I consumed.
I would advice getting help from professionals, finding someone to be accountable with. Find the root issues that lead to the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and deal with them. Also doing things that show love to yourself because you are so worth it!
About 12 years.
It severely impacted my life for the fact that I spent months in treatment. Thousands on treatment. Spent years away from school and in low paying jobs due to not functioning up to par. I didn’t have many relationships. My health was deteriorated. My pregnancy suffered. I lost a baby. It had severe effects on my mental wellbeing.
Currently in recovery about 3.5 years.
You have to have a good support system within treatment team and “normal” people such as friends andFamily. It is the hardest thing that can ever be done but is the most worth it over anything in life. There is a possibility of full peace within the mind. There can be silence. A time where you don’t have negative talk. A time where you can eat “bad” foods without feeling guilty. And it is worth it!
I’m 18 years old
I’m suffering since I was 15
So this is a big question I guess..I can’t measure but it ruined my life every single day..She (bulimia) took my smile my energy my hope and my love for life! I hospitalized twice!I lost days and months at school then my first year at university..I lost friends,relationships and months being bloated, fatigued, full of soreness lying on my bed and praying to die..I could write books to describe it…
Yes, I’m in recovery since October of 2016..After I lost my university I understood that it is completely out of control..The problem is that in the past my attempts to find experts had failed..that’s why it took me so many years to start recovery..However I’m finally in the right place for sure…I have some up and downs but recovery isn’t a straight line.
I would advise to ask for help! That’s the most important thing! The ED’s voice tells you that you can control yourself alone and you can find your balance without any help! That’s a real trap! Speak and act no more secrets no more lies!
30 (but 31 in a couple weeks 😊)
20 years if you count both the times of intense struggle and the times of strong recovery. It’s an ebb and flow.
It’s affected my life in so many ways. I’ve lost relationships. I dropped out of college several times to go to treatment. Too many lost opportunities to count. Countless days/weeks/months spent isolating in order to avoid inevitable social meals.
I’m in recovery and have been solid for about 4 years. I’ve had other pockets of recovery here and there, but this is the longest I’ve had continuous strong recovery.
Never give up. You never know when you will turn a small corner that leads to a small victory that leads to a bigger victory that all add up to freedom. Also, as hard as it is, allow yourself to be open and vulnerable. Speaking your struggles and fears aloud removes so much of the strength and power from them.
It was all consuming and made important things seem unimportant.
Yes 🙏🏼 2 years 🙌🏼
Cry out to God and ask Him to help you– the burden is too heavy to carry yourself. Ask Him to take it all and help you see yourself as He sees you!
So friends, remember that you are NOT alone! Whatever you may be struggling with, you are amazing, you are not defined by your struggles, and you are worth getting help! I am always here if you need someone to chat with, or you can always email me or message me on social media!
May you be filled with joy and health!