National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

When I was 18, my life (I believed) was a complete failure. I had just dropped out of college, was “let go” from a job, had barely any friends left from high school, and really no direction as to where my life was going.  After a month or so spent searching for a job, my mom came home excitingly telling me they were hiring at my local liquor store. I applied to the job, got a call a week later, and was offered a position all within a couple of months. 

Little did I know this would change my life forever.

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As a person who struggled with an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, I spent nearly a decade lying. 

I lied about how much I was eating, I lied about how often I was eating, and I lied about what I was doing after I was eating.

I lied about how much I was drinking, I lied about how often I was drinking, and I lied about my ability to stop once I started drinking. 

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“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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I think about where I am in starting The Cashmere Foundation, an organization that brings spa experiences into hospitals, one year in. And honestly, I compare it so much to where I was one year in my recovery. It was 11 years ago when I was 18. I had just reached my goal weight and was getting ready to move to New York. I was this new person, the person I was meant to be, someone who would continue to evolve, but the foundation was there. 

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“Family is everything.”
“Who can you depend on if you don’t have family?”
“Blood is thicker than water.”

These words of “wisdom” are drilled into many of us from the time we’re young. They litter Instagram feeds as graphic quotes and acquaintances utter them without thinking twice. However, not all of us are so fortunate to consider our familial relationships a source of pride and comfort. 

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College is an exciting time. For the first time, you are an adult living on your own, making decisions and new friends, and starting to take a large step toward your future. You are excited, and also overwhelmed. Frankly, you are freaked out! 

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As we walked into class, my friend looked up from her phone and delicately said, “It’s up.” I knew exactly what that meant. I ran to the back of a packed law school classroom and glued myself into a chair, gripping the sides of the seat in horror. All of Humans of New York’s 18 million followers were about to learn about my eating disorder.

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Compare [kuh m-pair]: to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences. ex. to compare two pieces of cloth; to compare the governments of two nations.

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You push the door open and walk into the tiny room. You hang up various articles of clothing and close the door, trapping yourself in that enclosed space with just yourself and a mirror for company. You take a deep breath and manage to look at your reflection, totally vulnerable to the fluorescent lighting and stark head-on image.

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Recovering from an eating disorder is a process that not only affects the ones struggling, but also the people around them, such as family and friends. The recovery process may be frustrating at times—especially during the back-to-school season—because family members or friends may not fully understand your journey or the additional stressors brought on by returning to school. Even when they have the best intentions to help you, they may not always know the right thing to say or do. Here are a few ways you can get the most support out of your loved ones as you start the school year.

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