During an encounter with the photographer behind Humans of New York, a young woman told a story about her eating disorder, and why she'll "always be recovering."
The woman described the first time she experienced binging and purging during her freshman year of college.
"My first time was October 18th, 2013," she said. "I was alone in my dorm room and I’d just eaten a bunch of Halloween candy. So I purged it."
She recalled feeling "great" at the time, thinking that she'd "discovered a new tool."
"It seemed like a way to stop gaining weight," she said. But soon, she began to lose control of her eating patterns.
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"My second time was two days later," she said. "Soon it became most meals. I became addicted to watching the numbers drop. I lost all power over it. I was dizzy and depressed all the time. I couldn’t focus in class or go out with friends. For five months, I lost all control."
It wasn't until she began getting help and talking about it, she said, that she got her control back.
"The eating disorder lost its power when it stopped being a secret," she said. "I’m much better now, but I’ll always be recovering."
Though she had a relapse a few weeks ago, she isn't letting it take away from all the progress she's made — and that's the important part. As anyone who has suffered from an eating disorder can tell you, recovery is often not a linear process, and is always ongoing.
"I haven’t lost all the progress I’ve made over the past four years," she said.
"I just need to stay positive. And keep talking about it."
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
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