National Eating Disorders Association

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Is there any positive outlook at all for long-term AN when you have nothing worth fighting for

I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to convey here, so I appreciate it if you bear with me.

I’ve had anorexia for 13 years, am now 26 years old. The past 9 years have been nothing but cycling in and out of the hospital and residential centers; I sign out as soon as I am able, lose, am put back in. Absolutely can’t cope with even that point and it drives me insane. It’s a very hollow life. I currently live with my parents and am on disability for anorexia. Lots of health complications and can’t do much, unable to think of anything but my weight. I’m currently on an SE-AN quality of life type plan with my doctors- just let things run their course with no inpatient intervention, essentially.

I realize that it’s at a do-or-die point, so to speak. I wish that I could improve (admittedly mostly mentally) to some degree, but it’s unimaginable with how irrationally despondent I become in treatment. I feel like no potential thing I could create in my life seems appealing at all. No degree, no job, no interests, very few social bonds, no redeeming elements of personality. My identity has been anorexia and very little to nothing else for most of my life. I’m at a total loss for what to live for or why, if not making myself feel marginally calmer through losing weight. I know how horribly my presence/illness makes my parents suffer, but I am apparently too neurotic and selfish to be able to tolerate the pain of a high weight instead. I only feel any motivation from guilt, not from the prospect of other opportunities arising, and that isn’t enough.

I guess my question essentially boils down to this: Is there any validity whatsoever to the typical rhetoric that you feel less distraught by weight once you reach a healthy one vs. bailing ship on the way up? I don’t trust doctors on this; I feel rather violated in a lot of ways by how I’ve been treated in the hospital. I’d likely better appreciate and trust the opinion of someone else dealing with the same issue. Moreover, does anyone have any experience recovering/improving in a similar life position (i.e. don’t have any external factor strong enough to win out over the compulsion, starting with a totally blank slate in regards to work/qualifications, etc)? I’m not actively interested in recovery but I’m very upset by how insidious the illness has been in derailing my basic obligations as a member of society and how unshakably consuming it seems.

Thanks very much for reading and any potential responses.

Welcome and take care!

Hello Hortenzia - welcome to the forums, we’re so glad you're here. Since you mentioned some concerning feelings, we wanted to make sure you know there are resources if you ever need to reach out for support: 

We also want to make sure you know about the NEDA Helpline! In addition to these forums, you can contact the Helpline at (800) 931-2237 Monday-Thursday 9AM-9PM EST and Friday 9AM-5PM EST. During these hours you can chat with us also by clicking the chat now option at the top right hand corner! Please continue posting and take care - and please know that recovery *is* possible.


Hi, and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you're struggling so much. I know this illness can really sap the life out of us, quite literally. I'm not sure what advice to give, but I do want to assure you that I hear you and care about you, and I'm here for you. Keep fighting; you're worth it, whether or not you feel and believe it.



Im in a very similar situation. Ive had anorexia for 16 years and was given the SE-AN diagnosis five years ago. Ive got a multitude of comoribidities (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and most recently intentional failure) which doesn't make life or the thought of the future any less daunting.

I have spent periods of my journey at 'better' weights and can tell you from my own experience, and from other peoples experience that I know of that life (both mentally and physically) is much better in terms of functionality when you are at a heigher weight. There is also so much literature on this from people who have recovered also.

For me, it has taken going back to university as a mature student to see a small possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel (ie, a future). Ive struggled, but my university have been amazing. You will need a goal, a distraction, something to work towards everything single day in order to keep you focused on why you are doing this. Are you from the UK? Do you have support from family?


Hi. I want to spend some time responding to your post as I think I have something to say that you are looking. I am not able to do so now as it is late but I do want to write to you first thing tomorrow. I am so sorry that you are suffering so much. There IS HOPE.


hortenzia and lucie1991

Hi. Welcome to the both of you. I want to focus more on hortenzia's questions and then I think that will help answer lucie1991 questions as well. First of all, there is hope. I will give a summary of my experience to help you understand why I believe this to be true. I need to start off by saying that my faith in Jesus has been a strong part of my recovery and why I believe so much in Hope. I had a serious eating disorder for around thirty one years. I was hospitalized twenty seven times for the eating disorder, self harm and suicidality. I don't know if you got my user name, iwanttolive. There is much meaning in this name. I didn't want to live for much of my life. I hid out in these hospitals and day programs and half way houses because for me living in the real world was too scary. I dealt with anorexia, bulimia and overeating/binging. It was horrible and my life was in danger. I was told eating disorders aren't so much about food. I laughed and was like that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I was told when I reach a healthy weight I will feel better and think better. One of the questions asked. From a former anorexic person, I can say absolutely yes. To be honest though, it took a while to be comfortable in a body to fit my age and height. Learning to deal with the new body took time. And healing came through prayer. But now that I have maintained a healthy weight for a year and a half, I am really living. I work part time. I am on disability for psychiatric reasons. I was living with my parent's until I was in my late 30's and then went to a program for a year and then a step down for over a year. It was then that I came back to my home state and found a lady who rented me a place that I could afford. When she raised the rent against the lease agreement, it was at the same time my parent's bought a house for my mother's mother and her caregiver and my grandmother and myself moved in on the same day, three houses away from my parent's. I am mostly independent. I host a Bible study at my house and have for over a year, on a weekly basis. I am involved with my church and church events. I attend a support group and will be taking classes to learn how to be a licensed peer counselor. I took a huge risk and took a class at my local community college. I still need help from my parent's. But they are getting older and I am trying to not bother them as much and do as much for myself as possible. I think I said I work part time. These are all the things I am "doing". How am I doing in regards to the food and weight and all of that. I am not afraid to eat anything I like. I don't have fear foods but I do have food dislikes. I am free to go out to eat without fear. I can go to a party and not fear overeating or terrified of having to eat. I do not own a scale and that has been so freeing. I don't have to harass those cooking meals to ask what is in it. To set mine aside to keep it plain. I am enjoying my life and am happier now than when I was trying to stay underweight. I have found life and now, I want to live. This came with a lot of support and love from my parent's and friends. I didn't do it alone. Also, a key again is my faith in God. I am happy now. I don't think about food all the time nor do I think about harming myself except on rare occasions.

I hope you find the will to fight and get well. That your body starts accepting food. It is important to change your thinking. I believe that this will help your body receive the food you give it.

I have not heard of the program you are on where the health care system has seemingly given up on you. Even if they have, you can make the choice to do what you have to do afraid. It won't necessarily be easy. It isn't want comes natural. With time and practice and patience, taking it one meal at time, it is important that you don't give up on you. You are important, the both of you, and deserve to live a full life. Try to find one or two things you can do that you enjoy. I have been coloring Mandala's or adult coloring books. This helps pass time, keeps my mind from thinking a million different things at once. And I get to give them away.

I really hope this helps give the both of you some hope. It is worth the discomfort and work. One day it won't be work anymore.

iwanttolive and I am

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