Caitlin Flynn
March 02, 2017 11:24 am

Recovering from an eating disorder is a long, complicated, and painful process — but the hard work is more than worth it. Like so many others, I never would have recovered without the incredible support of family and friends. Now, survivors of eating disorders are using the hashtag #RecoveryHeroes to thank the people who helped them on their journey to health and happiness.

Over 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, and the illness causes one death per hour — but there’s a persistent stigma that it’s not a “real” illness.

Ignorant people claim its purely the result of vanity, or simply a bid for attention. For these reasons (and many others), it’s an act of courage to say you have an eating disorder and ask for help.

It’s both crucial and empowering to take recovery into our own hands — and our own strength is ultimately what saves our lives. But no one should go through the process alone, and the people who offer pep talks, a shoulder to cry on, and tough love deserve credit, too. Here are some of the #RecoveryHeroes that eating disorder survivors honored with the hashtag.

Grandparents

“My grandparents have been instrumental in showing me I am strong, even when I don’t feel it,” Brittany wrote.

Best Friends

The friends who stick by us “through thick and thin” are invaluable.

Pets

Not all #RecoveryHeroes are human — some of our biggest supporters have four legs and a tail. Pets provide unconditional love, and the responsibility of taking care of them can be instrumental in recovery. “The responsibility of nurturing Luna gives me the strength to nurture myself,” Katie wrote.

Treatment Friends

The friendships that are formed in eating disorder treatment can quickly turn into some of the most important bonds in our lives — and Alyse’s beautiful tribute explains this perfectly.

Myself

Holding a celebratory cake, Kathleen’s post is an important reminder that we need to be our own heroes, too.

In conclusion, here’s a shoutout to my own #RecoveryHero — my amazing mom.

Caitlin Flynn

For over a decade, she ignored the doctors and therapists who told her I was a “lost cause,” and during my multiple hospitalizations she traveled for hours each weekend just so she could spend a few hours visiting me. My mom never gave up on me and, as a result, I never gave up on myself either. I made a full recovery.

Thank you to each and every #RecoveryHero out there — the journey is so much easier when we’re not alone.

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