There’s no denying that breakups are always hard. It can take months—even years—to completely heal and be ready to move on. When you have an eating disorder (ED), it can be even harder. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with negativity and self-doubt, which can trigger your ED behaviors in order to cope. But there are healthier ways to survive a breakup, and even become a stronger person because of it. Here are four ways to get through your breakup, eating disorder-free.
Stop blaming yourself. When a relationship ends, many people will look at every single way they could have messed up, or what they could have done wrong. Eating disorders come with a lot of self-loathing, too, although it isn’t your fault at all. Blaming yourself for your breakup can lead to self-destruction, and for someone with an eating disorder, that self-destruction usually means turning to ED behaviors. You may want to believe you aren’t good enough for this person, but they are the one who isn’t right for you. Try to understand that the breakup likely has nothing to do with you. The person you were with might not be ready for a relationship, and needs some time to focus on him or herself.
Surround yourself with positive people. You might just want to curl up in a ball in your room and cry for the rest of your life. Even though that’s a totally normal reaction to have, know that it will get better. You will get through this by spending time with your family, friends, and any loved ones who are there to offer a shoulder to cry on. Being alone with your thoughts will only end up hurting you. If you have any strong urges to act on these thoughts, talk to your loved ones, and they will be there to help you through it.
Avoid using food to cope. Having some extra ice cream or any kind of comfort food isn’t a bad thing, but don’t become dependent on it. In the long run, your ability to move on is what will get you through this hard time. Overeating to cope will make you feel bad about yourself and leave you feeling regretful, especially when your eating disorder is hanging over your head. Instead, let your breakup become motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle—finding a balance between sweets and greens.
Make time for yourself. Rebounds might seem like a quick way to get over your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, but remember how important it is to have some you time after your breakup. As cheesy as it might sound, you won’t be able to find someone to love you until you take care of yourself. There is a time for everything, and what this breakup means is that right now is not your timing. But trust me, your time will come. Use your new single life to work on yourself, especially your mental health. If you were in a relationship, it’s likely that you wouldn’t have time to fight your eating disorder and get the help you need. Now is the perfect time to do just that.