National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

I was born with cerebral palsy. It has affected my self-esteem because I do things more slowly than my peers. I was teased because of the way I walked when I was younger. However, at the time, bad body image wasn’t on my radar.

My birth mom could not accept me as I was and she expected me to develop at the same rate as my biological siblings and other children my age. She pushed me hard to walk and speak like others.

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It is a widely-known, yet little-talked-about fact that trauma in childhood can lead to the development of unhealthy and potentially-fatal coping behaviors such as eating disorders. Until a few years ago, I never spoke a word about the abuse that I had endured in my household, as well as the disordered behaviors I lived with for most of my life as a result. 

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For the longest time, I did not let anyone in. If anyone asked how I was doing, I would just say, "I'm fine," and they’d stop asking. Now, I’m vocal about my mental health struggles; I’m no longer hiding, and I’m no longer silent.

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My first diet was in second grade, and I remember the day clearly. I had overheard a family friend urge my mom to take me for regular, brisk walks in the neighborhood. Her message was clear: I was chubby and needed to lose weight. I felt embarrassed and internalized her words to mean that I was not good enough. That marked the beginning of my issues with food. 

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Recovery from an eating disorder takes a team. That’s why we’re working with Instagram and Project Heal on the #RecoveryHeroes campaign to celebrate all of the people who make recovery possible.

So, we want to hear from you! Who supported you on your journey to recovery? Who do you want to thank for all of their love and inspiration? Join the conversation and help us celebrate the people behind the scenes who make healing possible!

How to Participate:

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I was 15 years old, the sun was shining, and I had just come home from school when my sister told me that she had an eating disorder. The memory remains vivid in my mind. I remember how saddened I was that I had not realized she was suffering. I remember the tears of relief she cried that she was no longer carrying this secret on her own. I remember the fear in her eyes as she contemplated treatment. Most of all, I remember my shock when she told me that she had been experiencing symptoms for more than three years. And no one knew.

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Valentine’s Day can be a tough holiday, especially when you’re single, having a difficult time with friends, feeling disconnected from community or struggling with disordered eating. But here’s the good news: you can transform your Valentine’s Day to be a day of celebration! And here’s how:

1. Write your damn self a love note.

When was the last time that you explicitly expressed how much you appreciate yourself?

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“Monthly Matters with Melody” is a monthly 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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After I left treatment, I felt like a misfit. I remember standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, completely frozen, unable to think or speak. My eyes slowly moved from box to box as I desperately tried to pick a cereal that didn’t scare me, that wasn’t a threat, that didn’t feel like “too much.” The harder I tried to decide, the more scared and nauseous I became. 

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Hope…there is hope for recovery.

I know this. I want to share this message with the world. I spent years of my life held prisoner by the lies and intrusive thoughts of anorexia and bulimia. I no longer live in this place and I want you to know that there is hope for recovery. How, may you ask, is this possible? This is a question that only your journey to recovery will reveal to you. However, there are valuable tools that we all can share to uplift one another along our own journeys. 

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