It’s been said that one of the most deadly symptoms of eating disorders is silence.

In the past three years, as I have stumbled along the path of recovery, I’ve thought a lot about that silence. About what causes it, what it takes to break it and what allows us to keep speaking out.

I was silent once.

In the grips of my own disorder, I was certain that saying the words “I have an eating disorder” would be the end of the world.

I was certain that my family would disown me, my friends would abandon me, my job would fire me and my boyfriend would run as far from me as possible.

What I didn’t prepare for, when I finally whispered those words aloud, was hope. […]