To Those Who Struggle to Eat
by Chloe Hughes
part of NEDA Week
(TW: Eating Disorders)
When you decided that you are willing to try to get over an eating disorder, you are more than likely going to feel like a failure, like you couldn’t even kill yourself the right way, that you’re giving up on weighing 80 pounds, but you’re not. You’re being the strongest version of yourself, you are stopping the cycle, you aren’t letting yourself be the victim anymore.
When you don’t want to eat, and there are going to be days where you won’t (I still have them and it’s been three years), you are going to make excuses for your impulse. When that happens, you should take a long shower and think about everything that you love about yourself, think about the things that the people you love about you. And no, please don’t say your weight, you are so much more than just a number on a scale.
For me, I struggled to think of anything that I loved about myself, instead, I thought about the person that I love the most, I thought of my little sister and how I wouldn’t let her grow up in a house where I’m slowly killing myself while my parents congratulate me.
I would not let my insecurities ruin my life or hers. Now on days where I struggle to eat, I look at myself in the mirror, not at my body but at my face, and tell myself that I love the way my eyes sparkle in the sunlight, the way that my sister looks at me when I suggest that we get milkshakes before dinner.
Loving yourself is not easy and recovery is hard work, and some things are worth saving; you are one of them. Even if you don’t think that you are, I promise that someone else does, even if it’s not who you’d expect- maybe that girl who sits across from you in history and would miss the silly faces that you make at her when she spaces out.
No one will be mad when you get healthy.
If they care about you, they will love you in such a way that it makes it next to impossible not to love yourself- your new healthy self. And when you feel yourself slipping down the rabbit hole, instead of letting yourself free fall, ask for a hand to pull you out. If you don’t want to get help, if you are determined to save yourself, then crawl out instead. Use the roots and vines and anything else you can think of as leverage to pull yourself from the hole. You may struggle but you will succeed.
As time goes by, the days that you look in the mirror and see nothing that you like will become fewer and fewer, in time you will learn to love yourself.
If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, please get help.
National Eating Disorder Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237, or text NEDA to 741741. Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m. EST, Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.
Receive support, information, referrals, and guidance about treatment options for either you or your loved one.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders: 1-630-577-1330
Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CST (plans for a 24/7 hotline coming soon).
Trained volunteers offer encouragement to those having problems around eating or binging, support for those who “need help getting through a meal,” and assistance to concerned family members.
Crisis Textline: Text CONNECT to 741741, Available 24/7/365.
Connects callers with trained volunteers who will provide confidential advice, support, and referrals if needed.
Mental Health 202: Eating Disorders by Lindsey Turnbull
New Year for Self-Love by Grace Schoettmer
VIDEO: 5 Things NOT To Say When a Friend Opens Up About Mental Health
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