“We’ll get through this together”: Why Having a “Recovery Warrior” As A Friend Can Help You Heal

 

Having endured inpatient treatment twice in the past due to my struggles with eating disorders, there is no way I would have gotten through it if it hadn’t have been for the friendly, kind-hearted souls I met there.

The problem we all faced united us. Having the awareness that other people had similar issues to me made me feel less isolated. We shared a mutual understanding of the difficulty of surrounding our control over food and body and how hard it is to challenge our eating disorder’s rules and rituals.

Although I resented the help I received from medical and health professionals, I have, however, gained something from being in specialist units. I’ve made so many special, lasting friendships with people whom I am very grateful to have met. Many of these people have helped me to keep going in times of complete despair.

Benefits of having a “warrior” friend

Though overcoming an eating disorder is a battle that only the sufferer can truly fight, it is helpful to have people you can rely on who are also suffering with the same problems. In essence, a friend who is a fellow, “recovery warrior”. These people can offer guidance, compassion, empathy, and encouragement.

One friend I met in treatment never failed to brighten my day. When there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, she gave me hope and strength that one day I would be free. It’s been wonderful to keep in-touch with her. After leaving treatment, it was helpful to meet up with her and  hear that she’d been finding post-treatment life difficult as well.

The truth is, the problem never truly fades away. It’s like a scar that never fully heals. Everybody struggles; it’s a battle for everyone. Nobody’s perfect.

I’m just hopeful that someday, all of us will conquer our fears of eating once and for all, and be able to end the guilt and punishment that goes with it. As friends, we can be there for one another.

My gift to my friend (a coffee mug) has helped to make breakfast an easier and more pleasurable mealtime, and (as she informed me) it will forever remind her of me every time she uses it.

It’s the little things we can do for one-another that will make things that bit easier.

Tough times still lie ahead of anyone who has ever experienced, or is still experiencing, any issues related to an eating disorder or body-image issues. But at least we don’t have to feel alone in our struggle.

We can all do it. We can all get through this together.

Image: @elijahhenderson

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