Updated: Feb 22
First things first, I am not the voice of every person who has ever had an eating disorder. I can only confidently talk about my own experience. With that said, however, over the course of my career, many brave souls have shared their stories with me.
In fact, (a zillion years ago) when I was writing for Seventeen, I read an overwhelming amount of stories from young people who were looking to share their experiences. At the time, most of my letters came from tween and teen girls but let me be clear — eating disorders do not discriminate.
Eating disorders impact people from all genders, all races, all socioeconomic backgrounds, abilities, and sexual orientations.
I will list at the end of this blog my favorite experts and voices who speak more regularly on this topic but for now, I just wanted to share the one thing I want people to know about eating disorders.
You can recover.
Recovery is not linear + it can last a lifetime.
This isn’t to deter you from thinking that someone can’t recover from an eating disorder. They most definitely can. But I think we have a very warped view of what that recovery looks like. And it varies for every individual.
Sometimes we want to get healthy so badly that we don't acknowledge when we are slipping back. That's a part of recovery. Recovery is far from being a straight line.
In my experience it was ten steps forward, five steps back…sometimes. Other times it was LEAPS ahead for a while….then a regression. And at other times a nice steady hum of personal growth and moving further away from the behaviors of the disease.