Recovery from an eating disorder is a long and difficult battle. I struggled with anorexia for 5 years starting when I was 10, and letting go of that identity was incredibly difficult. Part of the reason eating disorders are so hard to treat is that recovery is often ambivalence at best — the eating disorder provides an identity, safety, security, an “acceptable” body weight, removal of responsibilities — and that was all hard to let go.

The first few months of recovery, I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I was so uncomfortable with my body and who I was as a person, and still had to do the thing that I feared most every single day, multiple times per day, and not resort back to any of my old coping behaviors. It was so temping to slip back into old habits (a common theme, as the relapse rate for people with eating disorders is upwards of 80%).

For all these reasons, having a strong support system is so important in this process. Having loving family, friends, and role models by your side, pushing you forward, giving you a shoulder to cry on, and never giving up on you no matter how many times you slip, makes all the difference.

In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, February 26- March 4th, Project HEAL and The National Eating Disorder Association have teamed up for a new campaign, Recovery Heroes, to honor our loyal supporters who make recovery possible.

To get involved, post a picture or video of yourself and your hero on Instagram with a caption talking about how they helped you on your journey using the #RecoveryHeroes and #NEDAwareness hashtags.

Originally published at