Struggling with an eating disorder can feel lonely. It can feel isolating—especially when you are not part of a good support group (which you really need to be). It can feel like nobody else in the world knows what you are dealing with, or could possibly have real empathy or understanding for your battle.

The thing is, there is something we can do to help people understand—to cut through some of that stigma and help develop real empathy for those in the eating disorder recovery community. It all starts with a conversation. When we open ourselves up a little bit and talk honestly about our struggle, that breaks down fear and cultivates true understanding.

This raises an interesting question. If you could communicate one truth of your eating disorder to someone who’s never struggled with one, what would it be? What one thing would you say to build awareness and understanding?

Think about some of these examples:

  • You could communicate that change is difficult, and does not come overnight—that in fact, recovery can be a lifelong process of healing.
  • You could emphasize that an eating disorder is not a choice, but a real disease—and thus, it is not something you can just “quit.”
  • You could acknowledge that there are good days and bad days in your recovery—and that relapse is a possibility.
  • You could make it clear that it is not about food, but biological factors or feelings—that it may be tied to trauma, stress or anxiety.
  • You could simply affirm that you want to be free and to live a life of recovery—but, again, that it is hard, and that some days are tougher than others.

Start the road to recovery with Alsana.

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