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How Eating Disorder Recovery Can Affect Your Relationships

Last Updated: December 12, 2023

An eating disorder doesn’t just affect you; it’s a friend and family disorder. ED, the name I call my eating disorder for short, was the source of my strained and broken relationships. However, through my eating disorder recovery, I was able to build up my relationships again, relationships that I had lost because of ED.

In times of my complete mental, physical, and emotional turmoil, the times when my eating disorder had a hold over me, I would isolate myself, feeling ashamed of how I looked, not wanting to be seen in public, even by my best friends. The fear of judgment flooded me, and I continuously saw myself backing away from the people that I loved. No wonder why my relationships collapsed.

There were people there to support me, yet I pushed them away because of my own insecurities, my own fears, and my own illusions. I created a lonely place for myself, a place where ED was comfortable, but where I was not.

There came a point in my journey with ED where I had enough, where I knew it was time that I needed to make a change, to take control of my life again, a time to find my true self again, not a self dictated by ED. And so, I researched for an eating disorder recovery center for myself, and I began my eating disorder recovery process, a process that allowed me to reconnect not only with the people who I had pushed away but with the new people who were on their road to recovery as well.

With both my old and new team, we worked together to create a plan for myself, a plan that incorporated both short-term and long-term eating disorder recovery steps and eating disorder recovery goals. What we created was the blueprint to taking back control of my life, to becoming my authentic, true, free self again.

One thing that I learned from my eating disorder recovery is that social isolation only makes ED stronger; it’s what fuels it and makes us shrink. What we need to recognize is that ED is not who we are, rather ED is an external voice, an external voice that we just make stronger when we don’t fight to polarize its existence. Anything that is external to us, we can get rid of, some things more easily than others, but possible to dispose of.

ED kept me from enjoying my life to the fullest, from going to places where I wanted to go, from doing things that I wanted to do, and when I look back on all the things that I missed because of it, my heart breaks. And it breaks, even more, when I think about the status of my relationships when ED was with me.

ED did not only affect me, it affected my relationships and the people that I love the most. To this day, whenever ED pops up, I come back to this place of empathy and compassion, not only for myself but for others as well. I take a deep breath, take a step back, and think about the consequences of my actions and the impact that they will have on the people that I care about.

Eating disorder recovery takes time; it takes mental, emotional, and physical strength; it takes effort, and it also takes support. You can’t recover alone. Besides your own willingness, motivation, and dedication to overcome ED, your support system is crucial to your recovery. My eating disorder recovery has completely shifted my perspective to recognize that my worth is on the inside and not on the outside, my worth comes from my authentic self, not from ED.