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Advice That Has Helped Me Manage Eating Disorder Recovery as a Student

TW eating disorder discussions

My disordered eating began when I was really young. It sprung out of stress that was a result of being a neurodivergent third grader who struggled to fit in in my classes. All my friends were either in another class, or they didn’t go to the same school, and I felt out of place. I guess I have always used snacking as a crutch for stressful times. I cannot remember a time before I was eight years old that food wasn’t a big coping mechanism for me. Then, when I was a senior in high school, I developed bulimia. I could never say that sentence out loud. Talking about my eating disorder makes me so uncomfortable. But here I am, writing what I would never detail in person, hoping it will touch someone who went or is going through a similar experience.

As a recovering bulimic today, I find that understanding the root of my disorder is important in my path towards recovery. There was a lot of body dysmorphia and stress about schoolwork, past issues, and the lack of clarity I saw of my future that pushed me head on into my disorder. As a senior in college, it has been an uphill battle to find what works best for me during my recovery. Especially as we sit on the coat tails of a pandemic, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Here is some advice that has gotten me through:

  1. First bit of advice I can give, learn to set your boundaries!!!! You have a toxic relationship, let it go. When people are treating you poorly, make it known. Additionally, don’t take on more responsibilities than you can and screw anyone who says you aren’t doing enough. Let’s kill grind culture once and for all. It’s way too prevalent these days and especially in the United States. I and everyone are not always going to be on and available. Not everyone wants to be some psycho entrepreneur.
  2. Find your hobbies! There is a plethora of things out there you’re sure to find whether it is tennis or painting in the park. I love reading, but I consider sitting around a book shop and grazing over as many books as I can a hobby. Set time for them and lean to them when you have time.
  3. Find an exercise you like or take walks and get some air often. Don’t over exercise yourself of course. Use exercise to clear your head and completely forget about using it for weight loss.
  4. Work with a therapist and psychiatrist to find your methods if you can, too! I really benefited from seeking medical professionals to find medications and therapy treatments that would benefit me, and they have really worked for me.
  5. Know that there is not one body for people to have. Especially as a young woman, I have come across conversations of people finding out that it is not normal for most women to be 120 pounds. When I went above 120 pounds years ago, I thought that was overweight. It is not! Not at all. Also, weight doesn’t matter; focus on your health! Furthermore, screw the beauty standards. When I lost weight from my eating disorder and gained weight in recovery, I recognized how people were nicer to me when I was at my smallest. It says more about our culture than it does about you.
  6. Finally, doing what you love is more important than your appearance or being the best in whatever you do.

The last thing I have to say is that recovery is not linear. It will not be perfect, but as I said earlier, it’s worth it! Everyone is worth it!

Hello!! My name is Kendra!! I am a Senior at Texas A&M University majoring in University Studies in Society, Ethics, and Law with a minor in Environmental Geoscience. My favorite things to do are waste time in book and antique shops and read cuddled up next to my two golden retrievers.
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