How Instagram Is Providing a Supportive Space for Eating Disorder Recovery

September 28, 2018

Colleen Werner, 21, was born and raised in Long Island, New York. Colleen is studying psychology at SUNY Old Westbury, and she plans on going to graduate school for mental health counseling to achieve her dream of starting an eating disorder treatment program for dancers. In her free time, Colleen enjoys volunteering as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line and snuggling with her dogs.

While social media can sometimes be a negative place, leading to unhealthy levels of comparison and increased body dissatisfaction, a special community that is blooming on Instagram is turning that around.

For the millions of eating disorder sufferers worldwide, the Instagram eating disorder recovery community serves as a source of hope and inspiration. From sharing “recovery wins,” to encouraging others to seek professional help, to making friends with other recovery warriors across the world, the community has built a space where individuals recovering from eating disorders can find extra support.

Here’s how the Instagram eating disorder recovery community has impacted four brave recovery warriors:

Emily Locke (@emilywlocke)

“The eating disorder recovery community has provided me with connections, education, support, and inspiration. Eating disorders can be extremely isolating, and so I think having a space where people can come together and support one another is quite valuable. I have become friends with some incredible people through this community, and I feel very thankful for that. I also really appreciate the diversity of diagnoses, body types, ages, ethnicities, etc. within the community. I think that it provides an aspect of education that helps more people better understand eating disorders and who is affected by them. I would love for the community to be more diverse, and I think it’s important that the diversity continues to grow as the community reaches more people.”

Nia Patterson (@thefriendineverwanted)

“The ED recovery community online has made such a difference for me. It’s like a support group of all my favorite friends who are going through what I’m going through. We’re all at different stages of recovery, but someone has been where you are and they can relate to you. I’ve met some of my best friends through this community, and I wouldn’t change that ever.”

Lexie Manion (@lexiemanion)

“To me, the recovery community is very special. In the online community especially, it’s special because we can connect with beautiful minds and beautiful people we wouldn’t have ordinarily connected with. Social media is definitely something that helps people reach out even when they feel alone. It personally helped me find community. When I was too anxious to go to NEDA walks by myself, I could connect with people online. Now that I feel more comfortable in my recovery, I can balance both interacting with fellow recovery warriors and also show up to recovery-focused groups and events. The recovery community has given my life so much purpose. The community means friendship and inspiration and hope. Even in our darkest moments, we are never alone.”

Charlotte Kurz (@chacha_livesfree)

“The recovery community has helped me to feel much less alone in this crazy thing that is recovery. I’ve met some of my best friends from this community, and it’s reminded me that we’re all in this together. Not only that, but it’s given me people who just GET it and can support me in a different way than others.”

It’s clear that the Instagram eating disorder recovery community is providing a space where recovery warriors can find a more supportive end of social media.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. If you’re experiencing an eating disorder crisis, text “NEDA” to 741741.