We Want to Hear from You: How Would You Encourage Others Who Are Hesitant to Enter Eating Disorder Treatment?

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NEDA Staff

We recognize that making the decision to enter a treatment program can be very difficult. For those who might be considering a higher level of care, we thought some words of encouragement might help make the decision feel a little less daunting.

NEDA collaborated with EDCare to gather advice from others who have previously made the decision. We reached out to our community on social media and asked the question: “How would you encourage others who are hesitant to enter eating disorder treatment?”

Over 350 amazing responses were submitted! Below, we’ve divided some of our favorites into the two main themes that emerged: 1) It’s hard but worth it, and 2) You deserve help.

It’s hard but worth it.

“It’s going to be scary, I’m not going to lie. I was scared to death. But just remember that you do have support and it WILL get better. You will learn to love yourself. Just take it one day at a time.” 

“I know how discouraging it is to look at the journey that lies ahead when contemplating entering eating disorder treatment, but I promise you that with every victory, no matter how small you may think it is, the feeling of overcoming ED with each step is like no other feeling I have ever experienced in my life. All the things you never imagined you could do start to become possible…. And soon you can tackle bigger obstacles. I promise you it is worth it.”

“Right now, it is hard for you to picture a life without your eating disorder, and that’s ok! Going to treatment is not admitting you failed. It is, however, admitting that you CAN reclaim your power! Once you take back what is rightfully yours, a lifetime of freedom awaits.”

“It’s never going to be easy or comfortable to take your first step into treatment, but it’s always 100% worth it.”

“It’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but you’ll find freedom. You’ll find yourself. You’ll get your life back.”

“I would say I never knew how happy I could be, how courageous, how badass, how authentic, how in love with life I could be, I never knew how much I could love my body. And I wouldn’t say I “lost” my eating disorder, because it’s still a part of me. But instead of tearing me down, my defiance of it every day makes me stronger. I thought my eating disorder made me strong. But being in recovery gave me the courage to quit a job that made me miserable and pursue a career that truly excites me. It made me realize that I can be a mother, if I so choose. Recovery allows me to love my husband more deeply than I thought possible because I’m not counting calories constantly in my head or worrying about how my stomach looks. Being in recovery gave me the courage to do all the things I thought I didn’t deserve to do, to have. Treatment is the hardest thing I have ever done, but because of it I feel like I’m truly alive for the first time in my life. That’s what I would say.”

“It seems like the scariest think in the world, but it will end up being the best thing.”

“It might be the hardest thing you do, but to be free, to being to truly live again, is more important than your fears.”

You deserve help.

“Your struggles are valid. You don’t need to become worse before you can reach out for support. No one deserves to exist with a miserable life blighted by ED. If it’s affecting your quality of life and making you miserable it’s time to get support.” 

“Treatment is a safe place where you can be supported to help yourself. Even if you don’t get better there right away, you’ll be given the support and skills you need to get on your way.” 

“Have a trusted friend or loving family member help you make the decision to enter treatment and ask them to take the journey with you. If you’re too nervous to talk to them face to face about what is going on in your life, try writing a letter and ask them to read it privately. A letter might be an easier way to confide in someone you trust. It gives them the privacy and time they need to process what you are telling them. You can get through this and someone will be there to help you!” 

“In retrospect, the years I spent with my eating disorder were a total waste. I lost valuable time that I could have been making friends and discovering myself…. I would encourage someone to not waste their time. It is not worth it. If you want to find happiness, the place to start is finding ways to be happy with who you are; the only way to do that is to let go of ED and accept help. ED won’t let you be happy. That is fundamentally against what it stands for. But you deserve to be happy. And trust me, the happy is so worth it.” 

“You don’t have to hit rock bottom to get help.” 

“You may feel like you need to get worse first, but please know that you deserve treatment as you are now.”

Other words of wisdom we love.

“Be open about your fears to friends or family and know that your fear is just your ED preparing to lose the fight.”

“Write a list of treatment pros vs cons… then lovingly question your cons.”

“ED is the one who is angry about treatment. Not you.”

“Treatment is to recovery what a navigation system is to the destination: a helpful guide.”

“You are capable of so much more than you know. You are worth so much more than you see.”

“Try not to think of the process of recovery as giving up your eating disorder, but rather as getting yourself back, or maybe even finding your real self for the first time. I was hesitant about going into treatment, but what no one told me was to be patient. Patience is crucial in recovery…”

And finally…

“You have no idea how beautiful your life can be.”

Thank you to EDCare for sponsoring this “We Want to Hear from You” question and blog post.

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