National Eating Disorders Association
Blog
Recovery

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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I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was a prescription drug addict, an alcoholic, and sick all of the time. She was also a compulsive overeater. My father was a very violent man. When I was just a little five-year-old, I witnessed his violence in a really traumatic incident. After this event, I can consciously remember the start of my eating disorder when I was a child. Throughout my early life and into adulthood, I had issues with food.

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Content note: descriptions of suicide and suicidal ideation.

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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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September is Suicide Prevention Month, which can mean a lot of different things for many people. For some, it’s a painful reminder of losing a loved one to suicide. For mental health professionals, it’s a time to advocate for screening and preventive services. For many people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, September may be an opportunity to seek help; it may also be a time that is just as challenging as the previous month to know who to reach out to, and feel comfortable doing so. 

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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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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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National Suicide Prevention Month is a time when we mourn the loss and celebrate the lives of those who have been taken from us by suicide, as well as raise awareness for the various precursors to suicide: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. 

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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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