One woman is saying “sayonara” to a beloved pair of shorts for the best reason.
Alyssa Grace, a 22-year-old body-positive Instagram user from Illinois, posted an image of her sporting the denim along with a caption that contained an open letter to her eating disorder. Grace wrote that she is happy the shorts don’t fit anymore because it’s a sign that she’s recovering from the mental health condition.
“To my eating disorder: Oh ED... remember these shorts? When we were together I lived in them,” she wrote. “I saw them in the drawer and the memories were all too tempting. They. don’t. fit. anymore. In the same way you no longer fit into my life.”
The post has racked up more than 2,000 likes and 70 comments since she shared it. Many responded with messages of support.
“I don’t know you, but this post makes me feel so proud of you!” one user wrote.
Grace, who first started experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder around the age of 20, said she was dealing with depression and used food as a way to take control of her life. After more than a year of dealing with anorexia, she finally reached out for help.
While she’s since been working on having a healthy relationship with her body, she says there are both good days and bad days that she’s had to learn to manage.
“My experience with recovery has been so wild, even in moments of complete satisfaction, my eating disorder is in my ear,” Grace told The Huffington Post. “It isn’t something that goes away. It is something you fight. You fight it by calling it by name and telling it that it no longer owns you.”
“It isn’t something that goes away. It is something you fight. You fight it by calling it by name and telling it that it no longer owns you.”- Alyssa Grace
Approximately 30 million American women and men have an eating disorder. The condition has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness group, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. But experts stress that with the right professional and personal support, a person can move on from the condition and live a healthy and happy life.
Grace credits support from people on Instagram for encouraging her throughout her recovery and helping her to appreciate herself more.
“The body-positive community on Instagram is made up of some of the most amazing and beautiful people on this planet,” she said. “Each one has contributed to trying to help correct the narrative of self loathing into self love.”
Ultimately, Grace hopes that her posts on social media and her honesty about her own experience with eating disorders encourages others to get help. The condition is easier to manage if you lean on others, she explained.
“All you have to do is have the courage to hold on and we will help you climb up the whole way,” Grace said. “You are so far from alone.”
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.