Battling an eating disorder? Learn how a supportive community can help you through the struggle.

Society usually worries about young women suffering from eating disorders, when in reality, anyone can find themselves amid the dangerous battle.

Given the lack of attention and vigilance shown to their experience, men and older individuals may suffer alone or in silence.

And women of all ages are challenged by the combination of silent symptoms and pressure to meet unrealistic beauty standards.

Touching on the universality of body image struggles and the irrelevance of outward expectations, the theme for this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is “Come as You Are.”

No matter where you are in your journey, or what you’re battling, your story is valid and deserves to be heard.

Why Should I Share?

Whether sharing helps you learn you’re not alone, gives you some ideas for how to handle the challenges, or lets you see yourself through someone else’s eyes, it’s central to healing your self-image.

As with most journeys, there are bound to be some setbacks. But when you feel discouraged about your progress, your peers can help you bounce back. When it comes to eating disorders, there are several ways in which having a community is essential to recovery.

How Peers Can Help Battle Eating Disorders

Presence and Encouragement

Often, those with eating disorders try to keep their struggles secret. Instead of lying about not being hungry, try sharing your difficult feelings.

You may be surprised at how friends, family, or an online support community can help. For example, you can tell them that you’re hungry, but scared of binging on food. They can help you think of nutritionally sound meals to eat, help reassess the situation, or even eat lunch with you to ease your anxiety.

Rebounding from Relapses

As with most journeys, there are bound to be some setbacks. You may feel society’s pressure to conform to certain standards.

When you feel discouraged about your progress, your peers can help you bounce back. They can remind you about how much progress you’ve made, or how much better off you are now.

Anonymity Helps

Sometimes reaching out to people you know creates too much pressure or fear of consequences – being judged, having to explain yourself, or becoming the victim of gossip.

But if you’re looking for a group of people to help you work through these struggles while maintaining anonymity, let out your real feelings at Supportiv. Here, you can find individuals who share your struggles, are willing to listen, and can offer their own insights.

And if you are in an emergency situation or need professional help, do not hesitate to call the National Eating Disorder Hotline for immediate assistance.

We want you to feel better. It doesn’t matter how you get there, or how long it takes — just that you take baby steps whenever you feel up to it.