National Eating Disorders Association

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Does anyone almost else miss their anorexia?

Hi everyone! I was admitted to a day treatment program for anorexia in late 2014, and have since almost recovered from my eating disorder. For the most part I would say I feel happier and stronger than ever, not only ED-wise, but in all areas of my life. My problem is that, despite this, I still have periods when I intensely miss my anorexia. Has anyone else here experienced this? I find myself wishing I had gotten worse not because I ever want to be that skinny (I've even never felt "fat"), but because it feels like "if I had just been X amount sicker then maybe the ED would have been satisfied by now and left me alone". During these periods all I can think of is the comments from people who didn't think my anorexia was severe. No matter how much I've accomplished, or how happy I have become, my ED-voice still makes me feel like nothing but a failure. Being ill originally had a very clear purpose for me - it replaced my depression by giving me a new "interest" and, most of all, I finally had a reason to feel cared for like a child - but now I've learnt to cope in other ways. Also, the additional care I might have achieved through being sicker than I already was just doesn't justify the extreme extent to which I miss my anorexia. I won't ever relapse since I have too much to lose, but the feeling of WANTING to relapse is alone extremely painful and hard to deal with - instead of enjoying my new achievements, I find myself crying for hours on end. Will it always be this way? Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how do you cope? If not, what makes you feel differently? Any comment is greatly appreciated, whether you have advice or just can relate :) <3

Hi birdie22! Thank you so

Hi birdie22! Thank you so much for your reply. I have been writing a lot these past few days, trying to think of rational reasons not to miss my ED, and it has really worked. Reading you guys' replies over and over again has also helped. Especially your second paragraph ("But we can be nurtured as healthy adults. Probably not in the ways we feel we need but we can still be loved, receive hugs and affection. And be nurtured. It is just different") helped me a lot, and I know you are right. One of the nurses at my inpatient unit - who I've perceived as one of the strongest women I've ever met - once told me "vulnerability doesn't exclude strength. You have relied on your vulnerability for support until now, but vulnerability and strength are not opposites, and I know you have both inside you. That's okay. They can exist side by side. Being happy, healthy and independent, doesn't mean you can't also be vulnerable and receive support." A few months after she told me this, I stumbled upon her blog, and discovered that she herself has felt much the same way I do. The one person I have perceived as the strongest person I've ever met, has apparently also been one of the most vulnerable. The same should therefore apply to me. I can be vulnerable - I AM vulnerable - but I can also be strong. And you can too, birdie22! :)


I've been struggling with this a lot lately too. I spent 2 months in treatment right before Christmas and I do have a lot of days where I miss my "sick body." I just have to keep reminding myself that when I starve I'm not just hurting my body but I'm hurting my brain. It makes me forgetful and foggy and honestly makes me feel stupid. I expected to be a "new person" when I left treatment but it's still a constant battle.. recovery is harder to me because I'm gaining weight and I know I have to learn how to be ok with that. It's hard. Keep fighting!!!

Hi WendyDier! Thanks for your

Hi WendyDier! Thanks for your reply! It helps knowing I'm not alone in feeling this way. If it's of any comfort to you, I can let you know that I missed my ED a hundred times more two months after treatment than I do now, a couple of years later. It takes more than a couple of months to be a "new person" - but eventually, the feelings will catch up. For me, the sense of "loss" has grown smaller over time, and although I still miss the ED now and then, the feeling will continue to lessen, both for you and for me. Take care. We can do this!! :)

You are so right, Birdie22.

You are so right, Birdie22. We do tend to forget the negative sides of the ED. When I catch myself doing that, I remind myself of something I told myself right at the beginning of my recovery: "Both anorexia and recovery have both pros and cons. You might as well choose recovery for a change - with both its pros and its cons - if only for some variation." In hindsight, I can say that recovery has had FAR more pros than anorexia did.

I can relate...

Hi LinguisticOwl,

I can definitely relate to this post! Although I don't have those feelings really anymore, early on in my recovery, I can definitely recall missing my "anorexia." I'm not sure at what point I stopped feeling like that but like you said, I had/have too much to lose and was tired of feeling sick all the time. I can say this... it will NOT always be this way as long as you are proactive in your recovery and you WANT to get better! Of course, there will be ups and downs throughout your recovery just like anything in life and I think what helped me cope with those feelings is being able to talk about it and knowing that it was okay to feel this way. Whether I spoke with my therapist, my friends, my family members, etc. just being able to communicate my feelings, helped me in my recovery. Recovery looks different on everyone though so I think and as long as you're using the coping skills that work best for you, these feelings will eventually pass.

I hope this helps and check in with us as often as you would like! You always have a listening ear here on the NEDA forums! I wish you the best of luck!

Erin_Patricia1 <3

Thank you so much, Erin

Thank you so much, Erin_Patricia1! It's so comforting to hear that it is possible to stop missing your ED. This helped me a lot. I do talk to family/friends about it sometimes, but I often find that people get scared when I do, fearing I will relapse. That is not the case. I will not relapse, since I have too much to lose, and the cons of anorexia far outnumber the pros, but that doesn't stop me from missing the pros. Not many people I've talked to have understood this. Here on NEDA though, people apparently do :) That in itself is a big comfort! Thank you once again :)


Hi LinguisticOwl,

Welcome to the forums :)

I understand that feeling of missing your ED. When I was sick in my ED, it was my safety net, so in the earlier stages of recovery I missed the feeling of my safety net. However, like you, life in recovery gave me way too much to lose to turn back to my ED.

Like Erin_Patricia1 said, staying proactive in recovery and using your resources (coping skills, family and friends, other support, etc) will help knock that feeling down more and more until it's eventually gone. I don't miss a single thing about my ED anymore, but I didn't just wake up feeling that way one day. It was a gradual process.

Take care,

Hi Catlady09! Thank you so

Hi Catlady09! Thank you so much. Just like I told Erin_Patricia1, it is so helpful for me to hear from people who have stopped missing their ED:s, and I'm really grateful that you have taken your time to let me know. I'm now even more motivated to stay proactive in recovery and, as you said, "knock that feeling down more and more until it's eventually gone". It occurred to me the other day that I can compensate for whatever I "failed" at in anorexia by performing many times better in recovery. I can use my perfectionism to my advantage. If I have to excel at something, I can excel at recovery.

I can definitely relate to

I can definitely relate to this. Sometimes I catch myself fondly looking at pictures of when I was underweight. Or when I try on old clothes that don't fit I get so frustrated and upset with myself for not still being that skinny. But then I also try to look at that picture and remember how depressed I was and how at that moment I still hated my body. I'm in such a better place now then I was at that time. Yet, I find myself in the same situation where I basically miss the control that the eating disorder gave me.

I can relate

I was never underweight, but I was thinner when I was sicker. I almost wish I could be that thin and pretty again as well, but I don't want to end up with the behaviors that make me feel dizzy and lightheaded from overexercising and restricting water and food.

missing my anorexia

I am in no way recovered from my eating disorder. I no longer have anorexia but I am still on the path to recovery. Recently I have really been getting these strong. feelings of sadness for my. anorexia and a longing to go back. I miss being weak, in control, fragile, the headaches, the concern that everyone had for me. I miss going to the hospital 2x. a week to pee in a cup, stand on a scale, get blood drawn and hear the doctors tell me how low my heart rate is and that they are admitting. me to the. hospital. I miss being numb to everything else going on around me and during this crazy year I wish that that was how I could feel. Constantly I keep finding myself. say this. situation wouldn't be as bad if I at least was skinny. Or I would be fine right now If I was skinny again. Does anyone else miss the feelings associated with anorexia or is that just me?

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