by: Zoe Robinson, volunteer
What’s the first thing you do upon waking in the morning? Brush your teeth? Shower? Or, like many of us, check your social media accounts?
With the convenience of smartphones and apps for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the relevance of social media in our everyday lives is growing at a fast speed, with uses ranging from it being a news source to a way to stay connected to friends and family.
What if social media was now being used as a means for eating disorder recovery?
Websites, such as Instagram, are quickly becoming not only a way to share pictures of your delicious breakfast or of that amazing concert you went to. Now, many people going through the process of recovery are using it as means to find a community of those going through the hardships of recovery and can share stories and find support, all of which are vital in the recovery process.
In an article titled “Meet the Teen Girls Using Instagram To Recover from Anorexia“, originally published by the popular new source website Buzzfeed, we meet Ashleigh (Instagram username @balancednotclean), who while in treatment for anorexia found an online community through Instagram of girls like her, fighting against anorexia and other eating disorders and helping each other along the way by providing words of encouragement and support.
Searching hashtags such as “#EDRecovery” or “selflove”, one will find a variety of accounts of men and women dedicated to fighting EDs and providing support for others.
People will often post pictures of their meals, daily activities, or words of encouragement, some of which feature eating certain “fear foods”, or foods they normally would have not eaten before they began recovery, which are met with a plethora of praise.
The potential harm in using social media as a means of community in the recovery process can be avoided, as the use of hashtags such as “#thinspo” and “#proana” or “#proED” have been banned by Instagram.
But if you feel that social media would cause triggers and not be helpful in the process of recovery, no need to worry, as there are many other readily-available resources, such as recovery resource centers like A Place of Healing, that will give you every resource you need to begin the recovery process, free of charge.
My personal experience with using social media as a tool in the recovery process has been nothing but positive and helped me immensely.
Once I began my recovery process, I began following Instagram accounts of strong, smart, and recovered women who shared their daily struggles and triumphs, making one feel like they are not alone and that it will get better. A few of my favorite accounts include @gymratdiares, @kellyufit, @kiracrush, @eatburnbalance, and @oilyssa, all of whom battled EDs in the past and came out stronger and healthier than ever before, living full and healthy lives, also in part to finding Instagram accounts themselves to help aid them in recovery.
We are all human, and admitting you need help is one of the hardest and bravest things you can do in the recovery process.
In my case, and with many others as well, using social media as a means for support and community was more helpful, than hurtful.