National Eating Disorders Association

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Fighting relapse

I've been in recovery for over four years now, and I've been really strong this past year, but this week I'm really struggling. I've given into the ED urges a few times over the past week, and even now as I'm sitting here typing this, I'm fighting the urges. I'm trying to tell myself that I haven't done anything to deserve to punish myself, despite what ED's voice says...and I'm trying to remind myself how far I've come and why I worked so hard to get to where I am now. It's just hard to do right now. I've been struggling with depression for the past few weeks, and this week my partner and my rock is out of state with a family situation, so I feel completely alone. I've never been alone like this before, and I've always feared being alone because I knew that ED would rear its ugly head if I didn't have someone here to keep me focused on recovery. For the first time, really, I have to rely only on myself to maintain my recovery.

Stay strong!

Hi BuffaloAlice -

First, I want to congratulate you on 4 years of recovery! That is huge! What an amazing accomplishment. Don't let Ed take that away from you now. Being alone can be very hard on some of us. The important thing to remember is that your 'rock' is only gone for a short time. Don't let your partner come back to find you have started a relationship with Ed again. You fought so hard to get out of the shackles of Ed. He sees a crack of weakness and he jumps right in. But you are so much stronger than that!

It's important to know that relapse can be a normal part of recovery and you are not in any way failing because of this bump in the road. However, let's try to implement any coping strategies you learned 4 years ago to fight Ed off. What helped in recovery? Journaling, taking a walk, mindful meditation?

Here is some information regarding relapse:

And you can always call the NEDA Helpline to talk with someone if you are feeling lonely and Ed is creeping in. You can get through this!


Thanks, eghall...I'm doing better the past few days since I posted. You're right, I don't want to start up that abusive relationship with ED again! I'm still having urges, but I've been able to push through them the last few days rather than giving into them. I think I'll get through this bump in the road without a full-blown relapse!

Love your strength!

Your strength is amazing! You are truly an inspiration and I hope others read your post and know they, too, can fight through this. Keep pushing through. The more you do it, the easier it will get. Ed will know he's losing and begin to loosen his grip. I'm so proud of you for fighting through and not letting him steal your success from you. Way to go!!!

fight relapse too

Hi, our situations are so similar it's weird. like yourself I've been in recovery for 4 years and like yourself I find myself in a stuation where my spouse is out of town. In the last year my recovery has been very strong and I really thought I was finally passed this disorder. I guess you never really get past it. I have even made a lot of life choices geared towards supporting my recovery. I have moved to a beach town that is very quiet and relaxed. I have walked away from a very stressful high paying job in favor of working in something I love which pays a fraction of what I used to make. By makingt these changes has made me a very content person, however now, surprisingly, I find myself in a heated battle with Ed yet again .My urge to restrict is so strong that I even visited pro ana websites for the first time in years last night. Now, this morning, I woke up feeling so guilty about it that I decided to join up with this organization. Maybe getting support will help me in maintaining my recovery but as of now I don't know. I don't know anything .

Keep fighting

I am so glad you came on here to talk about what is going on. It's important to know that the thoughts you are experiencing can be a normal part of the recovery process. However, you fought so hard to find the freedom you've had in the last 4 years. Don't let Ed steal that from you. Ed has already taken so much more than it deserves. I believe in you and know you can get through this. Try to figure out what happened that may have been triggering for you. I have no doubt that you have strong coping mechanisms to navigate this. Here is some more helpful information:

Also, now is a good time to find a therapist to help you get through this. It's important that you do not see these thoughts and actions as failure. Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process and can happen at any time. It is not failure. We are here to help you! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

You're not alone


Thanks for starting up this conversation - sharing your thoughts and expressing your emotions and struggles is healthy not only for your own wellbeing and getting through tough times, but also helps those reading! Relapse is, unfortunately, often just another step in the recovery process. You're not alone! Recognizing what might be triggering you, which it sounds like you've done by realizing you've been feeling depressed and alone, is a good place to start. Trying to come up with ways to lift yourself up when these feelings creep up (talking to another friend/family member, the NEDA Helpline, writing down your thoughts to get them out of your head, listening to music, etc.) can help you regain power over them.

The fact that you've been in recovery for 4 years tells a lot about your strength and character already! Don't ever let self-doubt get the best of you! You can do this and we're here to help!

All the best,

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