Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Everyone Knows Someone


Hey Recovery Writers! This next week is the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Everyone Knows Someone”. Considering the current statistics on eating disorders, I’m betting this is true. Think about it, I’m sure we all know someone who had been affected by an eating disorder. If you have been personally affected or you know someone, or you even know someone who knows someone, I want to hear about it!! In the comments section below or on the WfR Facebook page, please feel free to share your story. The more people who share, the more it will show how big a problem this is and how wide it spreads. I look foward to reading your experiences; thank you for being willing to open up here!!

With love, Sarah


About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

8 responses to “Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Everyone Knows Someone

  • Heather

    I have been dealing with an eating disorder since I was 6 years old. I remember growing up and thinking I was fat. I slowly started to restrict food, but I would still eat. However, I wouldn’t eat as much as I wanted to. This began an awful war with food. I began to hate food. Although, sometimes I found myself binging in the kitchen before anyone saw me because I didn’t want to look like a fat fuck. I hated when people saw me eat. I always thought they would think I was fat. Eating = being fat.

    This war has continued. It continued through middle school and high school. The restriction stayed and I felt proud of myself for not eating. It felt amazing not to eat. I weighed 97 pounds in middle school and when I hit 100 pounds, I felt like shit. My self-hate grew and the restriction got down to barely nothing on days. I worked out in the process. I bragged to others how little I ate during the day.

    I got pregnant my senior year of high school and the restrictions stopped for the most part. I still hated seeing my stomach grow and it was a painful process. On top of that, being pregnant in high school is a shaming experience. So, that didn’t help.

    When I had my daughter, the restrictions stopped (for the most part). I didn’t do it on purpose, but it I didn’t happen to eat one day, I felt good about myself. I was also in an abusive relationship (with her dad) for 5.5 years. One day, I left him and I truly believe that was the beginning of a long fucking horrifying road that has started to lead me to the other side. This was over 5.5 years ago.

    I also am sober. I stopped all alcohol and drugs on November 12, 2008. While I hadn’t done drugs in years, the alcohol was present and I decided to stay clean of everything. I go to AA and Al-Anon. This helped A FUCKING LOT.

    I have also been seeing therapists off/on these 5.5 years. I see them for anxiety, depression, dissociation, addiction, co-dependency, PTSD. And I have done EMDR … I also started to recover from the realization that all the gross, nasty feelings I had growing up around my dad were warranted. He has been sexually abusing me.

    So, I was hitting a wall. For the most part, I still hate myself. I am a perfectionist and I think I’m fat. The amazing part about that is that I am a size 4 or 6 and a size small (shirt) and I still think I’m fat. On some level, I know that’s an okay size or whatever. But I look at myself in the mirror and I see fat. Although I know if I lose more weight, I will still feel the same. It’s this fucking on-going battle in my head all the time. I also don’t have a normal relationship with food. I don’t know when I’m hungry, when I should eat/stop eating, how much, etc. I will think about food for a long before I actually eat it because I contemplate in my head about it. I also hate having food in my body. I have made myself thrown up the past 14 years. I also have taken laxatives. The laxatives peaked in 2007, I was taking them everyday. But it felt so good to get the food out of me. I can’t explain, but it felt good. And I still have laxatives and I haven’t taken them in a while. But they’re there and sometimes it’s hard not to take them.

    On my 35th month (October of 2011) of being sober, I had my first appointment at the eating disorder clinic an hour from where I live. The appointment was with a medical doctor and I had to get my weight checked. That was one thing that made me nervous about the appointment. Luckily it was a blinded weight check, but when they did that – it hit me. Whoa, I am fucking doing this. The doctor also checked my physical symptoms and it was reliving to hear some of my physical symptoms is probably related to my eating disorder.

    I met with a nutritionist who told me a lot of information (some of it I knew). She said we will probably explore the relationship between me being a vegan and having an eating disorder (which I believe there is one). She will also help me know when to eat, how much, etc. I was so relieved to hear that.

    I met with the psychologist and told her some of what I mentioned above. FUCK. I was honest. It felt good. She said other people feel this way, too, and that I am not the only one. It was a relief.

    I am going back. I had blood work done in town and they’re sending it to the other clinic. I want to get better so I stop hating myself. I want a normal relationship with food.

    I have to track my food intake which has brought up a lot. I have to write down my emotions that I experience when I am doing it and much of the time I am pissed off that I am hungry. Or annoyed. It has been rather intense and kind of sad to realize. Sometimes when I eat something I will have had thought about it for days before I decide that I want to eat it. So frustrating.

    This is a step toward a new way of my life. It’s a revolution of my life, my existence, core beliefs, and behaviors. I need to write to work through it, as I know it will help me work through some of this shit.

    I may grieve the loss of my eating disorder, just as I did with alcohol, but I know on the other side – my life will feel so much better.

    • writingforrecovery

      Wow. Thank you so much for being so honest and open. You have had quite a journey; I empathize with so much of what you’ve gone through. I was sexually abused by my father too. I had an eating disorder (anorexia and bulimia) for over 16 years. I had PTSD, struggled with addiction to prescription drugs. I am so sorry you’ve been through all of this but I really admire you for tackling it head on, taking responsibility for your issues and working through them. It is not easy in the least. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the best on your road to recovery!! Keep pushing on.

      Peace, Sarah

  • Heather

    Thanks for reading and responding, I appreciate it. Much love and light to you!
    – Heather

  • Scarlett

    I was diagnosed with anorexia at age 14 and have been swinging between AN and BN for the past 11 years. My story is a cliche in some ways and unique in others. I don’t believe in the traditional definition of recovery, but I am working toward what I prefer to call “symptom management”. My full story is probably triggering (not to mention way too long!) so I’ll link it instead of bothering you with it here!

    Thanks for providing a venue for people to give voice to this. 🙂

  • Leslie Neshama

    I love the honesty here, and thank you, Sarah, for providing a “sacred” space, as it were, for us to write and think and feel.
    I became anorexic at age 16, which, although hospitalized (the year, 1967) quickly devolved into binge eating.
    My mother became anorexic in the 1940’s, and she never left that behavior. It became who she was and she felt that she needed bulimia, she needed to purge the huge amounts of food that she would prepare and then ritually eat.
    I have been binge eating for more years than I have not. I am 61 and I eat what I want, when I feel I “need” it. I have not been able to “give” up “my food”…….
    I feel such shame and such a sense of hopelessness.
    My mother died in 1985, with diseases caused by 45 years of throwing up and alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking. She died of esophageal-stomach cancer. May she now rest in peace.
    Eating disorders are the evidence of my despair and my inability to live without binging.
    I wish to join a 12-step program, but I am frightened of many aspects of Overeaters Anonymous.
    Thank you for listening.
    with all my heart………

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