Words by: Zoe Spiers. Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @boporecoverywarrior.
The internet can be a wonderful thing – it can bring you closer to those friends and family members across the world, rekindle old friendships, and with just a few hashtags it can bring like-minded people together. It can bring people together into a community that would not necessarily meet in the outside world. And that’s amazing. Unfortunately, though, the internet can a dark place too, forming communities that are damaging and unhealthy – they may feel comforting to know you aren’t alone, but they can be incredibly detrimental to your well-being. I remember being a teenager and stumbling across Tumblr, and as with any social media, it can be a really good way to express yourself and find creative inspiration. But I fell into the community that fed my eating disorder. These sites can trigger disordered thoughts about eating, and hashtags make it all the easier for others to find these sites that promote eating disorders.
The internet is a double-edged sword – it’s easy to slip into the darker side of the internet, especially when you’re lured in by the fact there are others that face the same struggles as you, that are plagued with the same thoughts as you. Yes, it’s a community, but it’s a harmful community where everyone is dragging themselves down.
In the depths of having an eating disorder, most have those fleeting thoughts of ‘what if things didn’t have to be like this,’ and in that fleeting moment instead of the usual hashtag you search for, you type in ‘#edrecovery.’ In that one fleeting moment, things can change so much, because you’re introduced to a community of people that do still have the same struggles as you, people that still have the same thoughts as you, but they’re a community desperate to fight their eating disorder.
Finding this community of people who are all striving for recovery, just like you, is empowering. Seeing others do well in their journey gives you hope. Finding this community is one of the best things one can do for themselves in their recovery journey because having an eating disorder can be so incredibly isolating and lonely.
The recovery community is what helped pull me out of a relapse, and on the days I struggle most, they remind me that I am fighting one of the hardest things someone could ever fight: my mind. They remind me that my best is enough and that if I slip up, it’s okay. We support each other, we lift each other up, we celebrate our victories together and challenge our eating disorders together.
Finding a community in recovery can be such an incredible tool to aid in your own recovery, whilst helping others along the way. The kind of connection you develop with your community is deep, as you truly understand things about each other that the outside world may not – this community becomes your friends and your family.
The recovery community is full of compassion, support, and cheerleaders. The recovery community is life-changing – for both yourself and others.