National Eating Disorders Association

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I feel like a failure

So, I've been doing really well with my eating (I was anorexic).
but for the past few weeks, I have felt so bad :( I can only think how to get thinner and thinner. NOt helping that my best friend is on a diet to lose weight.
I have started to engage in behaviors again.
I just someone, who knows what I'm going thorugh, to share their encouraging story

Post Edited

LauraE, thanks for reaching out for support on the NEDA forums. Your post has been edited due to mentioning of specific behaviors. Please review the Guidelines for Sharing Your Story Responsibly: Thanks for helping to make the forums a safe place for everyone and we hope you continue to post!


Hi, I welcome you to the forum. I am glad you reached out for support. Each one of us has a story, different yet the same in some ways. How and why our eating disorders started, the length and duration of them and the kind of help received is different for all of us. My journey started when I was fifteen or sixteen. I am turning fifty next month, yikes. Because I was so sick and was always in treatment my sisters backed off and I am not really close to any of them. My journey has been a long one but now I am into my ninth month of recovery. So as many can tell you, recovery is possible.

Sounds like you had a reprieve for a while but now you are struggling again and that your friend is dieting it makes it more difficult. I understand that as well as my parents are always on a diet of some form or eating differently and it is all so crazy. I live three houses from them and while that is great it also has some challenges, especially when I was so ill.

Do you know if anything triggered your set back? One thing I ask, please don't discount the progress you've made. You haven't lost that progress. You need to acknowledge it and know you can get there again. Every positive step towards recovery needs to be celebrated.

Are you in school or are you working?

What do you intend to do regarding your friend. Do you think you may need to take a step back for a while or do you feel you need to be there to support her? If you plan on supporting her just be careful that her behavior doesn't cause you to slip further into your old patterns. As you probably know eating disorders are so difficult to overcome and there are a lot of ups and downs. If we fall down we can stand back up again. Again, with help and support.

I just spent the weekend with my sisters, at my nieces wedding. It was a little difficult as they usually don't engage me in their world. I was able to eat and not resort to behaviors. I am into my ninth month symptom free and I don't ever want to go back to before.

I hope you find some encouragement in my words. Please post again and let us know how things are going. It can be difficult to step back from helping a friend but if your recovery is a bit shaky, it is really important for you to get stronger so you will be able to help her. When people are drowning in water, it is often the case that both wind up drowning because the first one pulls the second one down with them. I see a parallel here. You must be strong enough in order to help another or else chances are likely that you may be pulled down as well. Just a word of caution. I am not telling you what to do, but just offering my thoughts. Also God, and my faith in Jesus has been a big part of my recovery. So I'll end here. I hope to see you again on the forum. Take care,

ps I am sorry you feel like a failure and hope you can let go of that feeling. We all struggle with ups and downs in recovery. It is not a linear or straight line. There are lapses and relapses and full blown back into the depths of the illness. A lapse is when for a time we struggle once we have been behavior free for a while. A relapse is when we get stuck for a longer period of time.. Then comes when the eating disorder fully overtakes us again. It is common to have lapses. They are not full blown eating disorders but it is a time to be careful and get the help before it gets worse. Guilt is not a great motivator. It just makes us feel badly about ourselves and drag us down. I hope you can see the difference or even look it up as I may not have it down 100%. I wish you the best.


Hi, I'm sorry you are having a hard time. Sending you lots of Hugs to help you.

Hey LauraE, Sending you my

Hey LauraE, Sending you my support and hugs as well! How have you been doing since you posted? Hang in there.


Hi Laura-
Just wanted to check in and see how the past week or so has went? I have been following this thread and have been thinking about you! I am so sorry that you are struggling. I can totally understand feeling stuck in that kind of mindset- and I'm sure hearing your best friend talk about the diet has been triggering and difficult. Try not to be too hard on yourself for engaging in behaviors. Navigating ED is a journey of ups and downs- and ultimately all we can do is figure out how to move forward from here so I hope you are being gentle with yourself.
So glad that you are on the forums-- because all of us truly understand what you're going through. I have been fully recovered for almost 3 years now without behaviors and would honestly say that food/exercise/body image concerns does not negatively affect my daily life in any way. It is possible. Recovery is so difficult but you deserve it & there is always hope <3 Keep us posted on how you're doing.


Hi. I responded to an earlier post about you feeling like a failure. The only failures in my limited understanding are those that stop fighting and allow the eating disorder totally take control and that person succumbing to it. If you keep working at it and are seeking help and don't give in to the eating disorder, I see that as strength, not a failure.