**Content warning: This is one person’s story. Everyone will have unique experiences on their path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
By Ariel Selwyn
Professionals say that an eating disorder is often a combination of genetics and an environmental trigger. At 18 years old, in fall 1997, I broke up with a boyfriend of 1½ years. That breakup was the trigger to an eating disorder that would go on for 22-plus years. At that time, I was very sheltered and I don’t think I even knew what an eating disorder was.
When you are suffering with an eating disorder, you need support. Unfortunately, my mother and stepfather told me the eating disorder was a sin in my life, which caused more guilt and shame because I couldn’t fix it. If it was a sin, why couldn’t I stop? My father and stepmother never spoke to me about it. They obviously saw that I was struggling but never said one word. Not one of my four parents got me professional help, which is what I desperately needed.