Needing Help with ED Recovery Is Not a Sign of Weakness

January 12, 2024 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

I know it can be hard to believe sometimes, but needing help with eating disorder (ED) recovery is not a sign of weakness. It's one of the bravest actions you can take. Internalized fears or anxieties might whisper in your ear that asking for help means you are a failure, a burden, or a lost cause. But I hope you can trust me on this: Those inner voices aren't telling you the truth. It's okay to need help with ED recovery.

In my own experience, healing is intensive, painful, and humbling work. No one I've met (including myself) has been able to successfully pursue it alone. So, if you could use an extra boost of care, support, advice, or encouragement, don't allow fear to intimidate you from reaching out. I promise needing help with ED recovery is not a sign of weakness.

An Example to Illustrate the Bravery of Needing Help in ED Recovery

Earlier this week, a friend sent me the following text: 

"I'm having a difficult time with body image, but I feel embarrassed asking for help. I've been in recovery for three years now. I thought that I was finally past these issues. I want to be helping others, not seeking it out myself. I should know how to manage this on my own." 

I allowed her clear frustration and raw vulnerability to settle in for a couple of minutes. It struck me how, in just a few sentences, she articulated the emotions I have wrestled with countless times in my own healing process. I marveled at her honesty, then I offered a response:

"I am so sorry to hear this has been such a physical, mental, and emotional challenge for you. But needing help with ED recovery is not a sign of weakness. It doesn't cancel out all the progress you have made. It doesn't mean you will never reach the other side of this particular obstacle. All it means is you're a human being who was not built to carry the suffering alone. I admire you for reaching out. I think it shows courage, resilience, and a commitment to heal. How can I support you here in this moment? It's alright to ask for what you need."  

Here's Why Needing Help with ED Recovery Is Not a Sign of Weakness

My friend set her fears aside to request the ED recovery help she was looking for. But after our conversation drew to a close, I was left with the question: Why is needing help so often viewed as a sign of weakness? Humans are imperfect—none of us can shoulder the full weight of pain and turmoil ourselves. There's no shame in this fact, but it can be terrifying nonetheless.

The reason I continue reaching out for help with ED recovery is that, after spending most of my life in the anguish of silence and isolation, I've experienced how liberating it feels to share the load with others. Realizing when I need help (then humbling myself to seek it from someone I can trust) is the not-so-secret sauce to my hard but worthwhile healing journey.

If not for a support network of friends, therapists, mentors, and family members, I would not be able to sustain my own efforts long-term. I need accountability to buttress me through the difficulties or uncertainties ahead. So do you. So does everyone else—it’s that simple.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2024, January 12). Needing Help with ED Recovery Is Not a Sign of Weakness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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