National Eating Disorders Association

The response to this year's NEDAwareness Week campaign went above and beyond our wildest expectations. Thanks to the unwavering support of our partners and people like you, we reached nearly 200 million people with information, resources and, most importantly, the message that recovery is possible.

I have been doing a lot of reflection lately about my eating disorder journey, and what it was exactly that made me come to my senses and recognize that I needed to start recovering before it got as bad as it could have gotten. I read a lot of books, blogs and emails written by others who have suffered and in many ways dealt with their illness for much longer than I did, and it has caused me to stop and think — what was it that made me come to my senses after two years of intense restriction? What caused that shift?

For years, my body didn’t belong to me. It was my disorder’s. Signed and paid for with my own self-hatred; countless hours at the gym on almost zero food; a scrap of paper I kept in my calendar to proudly mark the number of calories I’d burned, far greater than what I’d consumed. My anorexia had had her brittle hands on me for years, and I didn’t want to admit it. She was with me when I tried on wedding dresses, forcing me to choose the one I felt least fat in. She would whisper in my ear every time I bought groceries.

While both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are associated with a litany of medical complications , with timely and successful treatment the vast majority of these complications do not leave permanent residual sequelae (conditions that are the result of a previous disease). 

Early intervention. The phrase can sound like a negative judgment to a parent whose child has been in treatment for an eating disorder for multiple years. The mind returns to the time that the clues began appearing and wonders anxiously, “What if I had done x or y then? Would I have staved off the ED?  If I had been more vigilant, more protective, stood like a demon mother with a pitchfork outside my daughter’s bedroom door, would I have prevented the eating disorder from getting in?

In November 2007, sitting alone in my cluttered, overly crowded and chaotic shared dorm room, huddled under mounds of blankets with a random episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer playing in the background, I opened my laptop and set out on a journey to put a name to what I had been silently suffering from every day for months.

I took the screening  and it told me I could be at risk for an eating disorder...what do I do now?

First, congratulations for reaching out to the National Eating Disorders Association and finding the courage to take the screening. You’ve taken the first step to getting help! If your results show that you are at risk for an eating disorder, it means that you selected criteria that could be consistent with disordered eating behaviors and it’s time to get the help you deserve to overcome those thoughts and behaviors. 

In thinking about trying to alleviate some of the tremendous suffering that comes with struggling with an eating disorder, there is nothing more urgent than earlier recognition and identification of those at risk. Early intervention is essential to a better prognosis for those affected—and nowhere is this more important than those struggling with eating disorders who are further marginalized by virtue of not “looking” like the typical someone with an eating disorder. Which brings us, obviously, to papyrus.

Treatment works best when delivered early. 

Have you ever felt so full, yet you couldn’t stop eating? Do you often eat in secret because you are ashamed to eat in front of people? Do you feel unworthy or unlovable, and use food to comfort yourself in spite of your adamant commitment to weight loss?

If you or someone you know experiences this ongoing torment, you (they) may be struggling with binge eating disorder .