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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Saint Mary's chapter.

I’ve seen girls burst into tears over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Heck, I’ve burst into tears over a peanut butter sandwich. That’s just the kind of stuff that happens at the inpatient eating disorder clinic I’m at.

Nobody likes gaining weight (especially people with eating disorders, obviously). But the whole point of being at this treatment center is to gain weight, so you can see the dilemma. Emotions and tempers run high, especially during meal times. Nurses watch while we eat food dietitians have picked based on very strict and individualized meal plans for each of us. When finished, we’re expected to show all our plates and cups to prove we ate 100% of our meal. If you choose not to finish, you lose privileges such as getting to go to yoga class.

But the thing is, we all have the option of leaving whenever we want. Nobody can force you to stay here; nobody can force you to gain weight. But we’re all here anyway, because we choose to be here. We all recognize that we have a problem, that our eating disorders have taken over our lives, and we’re tired of being victims to it. We want to change, and we want to get better! So even during the hardest times, when that last bite of PB&J or that last drop of a protein shake just feels like so much, the important thing is to remain positive and remember that it’s for physical and mental health. It may be hard now, but those hardships are just little bumps on the road to a better life.

I’ve met so many amazing girls at my inpatient clinic. They’ve all been through so much in their lives, and they are all dealing with it so well. Everyone here is so incredibly strong, loving, and kind, and they are worth so much more than any number on a scale or size on a pair of jeans. In fact, all girls are worth more than their weight.

The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing it. By coming to this clinic, me and all the girls around me have recognized our problem and are taking the first step toward fixing it. When you have an eating disorder, sometimes it can feel like your brain is trapped in a world of counting calories and obsessing over exercise and food, and it’s as if the eating disorder has completely taken over your life. Recovery feels impossible. but it’s not. If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, or ANY mental illness, remember that you CAN change, you can get better, and someday, you will! It all starts with taking that first step, getting help, and remaining positive that someday, everything is going to be okay. <3