When Eating Disorders Make Us Feel Lost

March 03, 2021

When I look up the meaning of Lost, this is what I find:

“Unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts. Denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered. Very confused or insecure or in great difficulties. Having perished or been destroyed” (from Oxford Languages).

These definitions really do sum up life stuck in an eating disorder, even the very real finality of death by an eating disorder. I know because I struggled with an eating disorder in my life for decades. It seemed to calm my great fear, until it didn’t. I thought it made me feel special, until it didn’t. It seemed to have all the answers, until it didn’t. It wasn’t long until it controlled me. It left me a hollow person filled with shame.

What was lost to the eating disorder? My self-worth, my self-confidence, my ability to connect with people, deep joy and peace, my health. I lost knowing I have a voice and choices. I lost who I was, and who I was meant to be. I even was convinced by the shame I would be better off not being here. I almost lost my very life during a suicide attempt.

I couldn’t find my way out of the dark pit my life had become. That’s the thing with eating disorders…they promise so much but never deliver. I didn’t begin a life in an eating disorder thinking things would go south, but they did in a rapid and messy way. I needed the help of professionals and strong family and friends to walk me through my recovery journey. I needed connection with others to combat the confusion and insecurity as I fought to reclaim what had been lost to the eating disorder.

Today, I’ve been in recovery for several years. I am well and living a full life. I am living intentionally and with gratitude today with deep connections to other people. I now try to look at regrets for what I lost in my past as lessons that help me know what I value and become who I want to be in this world.

So, I will continue in my passion to share with others that recovery truly is possible until there is not one more lost to the belief that a number on a scale defines our worth. I will live out my life in recovery (not perfection) until not one more is lost to living a life of shame and emptiness due to an eating disorder. I will hold up the wondrous joy of truly living to others on their recovery journey until not one more is lost to the darkness and destruction that can lead to the finality of death.

I had people in my life to carry hope for me until I could grasp it. Strong people in my life didn’t give up on me as I grew in my willingness to consider there may be a different way to live. I want to offer that hope to others lost in an eating disorder. There is too much at stake to not want to do what I can until there is NOT ONE MORE LOST.


Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center is an international center for eating disorders and mood, anxiety and trauma-related disorders recovery providing comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and PTSD. We offer the full spectrum of treatment services adults, adolescents and children of all genders, including Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Outpatient programs.

Utilizing a full continuum of care, we provide expert behavioral health and medical treatment for eating disorders and mood, anxiety and trauma-related disorders in an environment of compassion, competence, collaboration, innovation and integrity. For more information, please visit: https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com