"When I first was able to name my problem, it took me months to find a place where I could get help. Wherever I read something about eating disorders only women were mentioned, eating disorders were pointed out as “female disorders”. To me that only emphasized that I was „weird“ and that there is no help. But support existed, of course. I started going to group support. From meeting to meeting, feelings of shame, fear, confusion and discomfort because of being the only men there were disappearing. Group became my haven, place where I was learning to be what I am without shame. I could show my deepest feelings and thoughts without judgement and outrage. Group helped me to accept myself and others just the way we are. Listening to other group members I learnt a lot, and decided to become better and gentler to myself. I met wonderful people who became my friends. To anyone who still isn’t sure whether to go to support groups, I would recommend to take that step. Maybe that can be your first step towards finding that little piece which is still missing on your path to recovery.“
„Going to support groups enabled me something which I never did before, to talk about my problems with girls who have those exactly the same problems,. Although I knew I wasn’t alone in it and that there were many girls with the same disorder out there, I realized that we were all of different age and different life situations. It was great to hear their experiences from which I also learned something. Group was very well organized and although in the beginning it was hard to talk about those things in front of complete strangers, our group soon became something beautiful and was the reason why I was looking forward to Mondays. It took me very long to seek any kind of help because no one knew and still doesn’t know about my disorder (except for girls from the support group).“
"To go or not to go? Will was strong, but so was the fear. Fear of the looks, judgement, "clever" comments which I already knew, of expectations that were too high, of another disappointment. On the first meeting, however, I discovered something entirely different. Beautiful people, today my real friends, invaluable support and understanding, lots of sincere smiles and hugs, safety and a place just for me. We all came with similar fears and doubts. One meeting at a time we became a real small group where I started discovering who I was. But this time, it was the real me. I learned to love myself, to recognize my feelings but also allow myself to feel them. I learned how to forgive myself. Even when I wouldn't make it. Even when a day or a week was extremely difficult and was a good enough reason for giving up. Every "fall" was becoming less significant, and "failure" became an opportunity to learn, discover and become stronger. My support group was finally the place where I didn't have to be perfect, and what's more important I didn't want to be perfect. I never even realized there was a priceless source of power and energy within me, which I slowly discovered in the group. It has been almost a year since my decision to go. Today I know that was the greatest gift I could ever give to myself. I deserved it."
"In my case, the spiral of an eating disorder developed slowly, and one step at a time it overcame every part of my life and my personality. I wasn't even aware of the process because I have never chased some super-skinny figure, which, at least I thought so, was coming spontaneously. It became normal to cut out different food, one at a time, and it wasn't until my body had a physical reaction to lack of food that I discovered something was wrong. I thought my decision to "fix everything and get back to the old ways" was enough, but every attempt I tried had failed. Over time my identity was built on looking skinny, and if I had lost it, I thought I would lose myself. I became aware of the hell that was surrounding me. Food became my enemy, my body as well, my thoughts insisted on negativity, and nobody understood me - I didn't understand myself. I was looking for a way out in every possible way, being wrong every time, until I came to support group. Suddenly, no one was telling me theories about what's wrong with me or how to change it. I met with the people who listened to what I was talking about, and with mutual experience and understanding I was able to recognize my disorder - its dimensions and strength. Because it was stronger than me. Group helped me with slowly accepting that part of my identity, and at the same time with distancing from it. Group taught me how to make my healthy part stronger; sometimes weak, angry and sad, and sometimes cheerful, happy and strong. Perfect in its imperfections and unique to me. Thanks to my group support, today my identity is built on what I really am, not on the expectations or rules others make. Because of that, I will think of my eating disorder as the most beautiful life lesson I have learned at the very beginning of my 20s."