National Eating Disorders Association

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Loss of Control and Relapse

I have been in recovery for almost a year; however, I had a recent relapse. This past two weeks I have been trying really hard to not restrict or purge after I eat, but with everything going on in my life right now, I feel like this is all I have left. Like I have no other way to cope. I feel like I don't really have anyone to talk to about my thoughts and feelings regarding this considering my girlfriend (whom is getting treatment for an ED) is currently in inpatient care. Does anyone have any other coping mechanisms that have helped them? Thank you so much for your time!

Hey mrohrbac!

Hey mrohrbac!

Thanks for reaching out for support here on the forums; recovery is a difficult journey and it's full of ups and downs. The NEDA Blog is full of helpful articles that could help support your recovery. I thought this post in particular might be helpful: The forums are a great place for support, but you can also get additional support by calling the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (they're available 9a-9p EST M-Th and 9a-5p EST F) or contacting them online via instant message:

Hope this helps and stay strong! :)


HI!! First thing is congratulations of three years of recovery. That is a wonderful accomplishment. I lost a bunch of what I just wrote, that happens a lot and is sooo frustrating. I was asking about the skills you used before that helped you in your recovery?
I was also wondering if you think having your girlfriend being in the hospital for treatment is causing any triggers for you. Do you think there is any competition going on, even if it is subconsciously? It must be very difficult having her in the hospital and you on your own.
You ask about coping mechanisms. What has worked for you in the past? What about coloring in adult coloring books? That helped me so much. I don't do it anymore but when I needed it I devoured the books. Do you like to read? Do you like nature? What do you like to do for fun? Do you have friends you can go out with. Also, a slip up isn't necessarily a relapse. It is a slip. A full blown relapse would be where you can not control the ED anymore and you are totally out of control. Slips are when you have a few bad days or weeks but you are able to get up and figure out what happened and get back on track. I do hope this helps some and that your girlfriend gets to a point where she is able to stand firm again and fight ED again. I wish you the best. Keep posting. I am glad you did and hope to see more of you. iwanttolive


I don't think there is any competition between us as far as ED goes - we are really communicative people and have both struggled with mental health issues, so our main line of support is each other. Not being able to talk to her while she is in inpatient care has been the hardest thing because I feel like i've lost all sense of support. I do love to read and have been; however, I struggle with GAD and panic disorder so sometimes immersing myself in a book isn't enough... I used to use music as an outlet, but my cello isn't with me. I'm on summer from college so I don't have any of my friends with me, thank you so much for your support, I truly appreciate it.



I'm sorry you are having a hard time with this. I really hope you will be ok. You have done a wonderful job going so long. Please keep posting, if you can journal, or draw so you can take your mind off of it. Lots of hugs.

Thanks you

Thank you so much for your support, it means so much to me!


Hi Mrohrbac-

Just wanted to welcome you to the forums & say hello! First of all, congratulations on your year of working towards recovery. I know how awful it feels to be in the midst of relapse, but I want you to know that all of the progress you have made up until this point is not lost. Recovery is truly not linear and there are so many ups and downs, but what matters is learning from slips and continuing to move forward.

What stressors in your life do you feel may have contributed to the relapse? Obviously your girlfriend receiving treatment for an ED must be a source of distress. Has there been any other recent life changes or emotions that may have surfaced/re-surfaced? I've found when we face relapse, it's always good to assess the roots of what has caused with as well as getting the support we need to get back on track.

In terms of coping mechanisms, Iwanttolive gave a lot of good suggestions. Personally for me, journaling is very helpful as well as going for long walks, spending time with a pet (my rabbit), reading, prayer. What are some of your hobbies? There are so many different coping tools & what works is different for everyone. I also just want you to know that you are welcome in this community and always have people to listen who will understand. You are never alone <3


Thank you

Thank you so much for you kind words, we all have our struggles and i'm really appreciative of you taking time to help me with mine. Thank you!


So true- we all do struggle, but there is always hope. We're here for you! Keep us posted on how you are doing <3