Eating disorders, like so many illnesses, are incredibly hard to fight on one's own, but the right support system can go a long way towards helping a person suffering from anorexia, bulimia or another eating disorders. Case in point: Chiara Schober, a teen from Liechtenstein who felt truly hopeless as she .
During her early teenage years, Schober suffered from stomach cramps that made her feel permanently full — a result that led her to guilty emotions because each time she ate, it felt like it was simply "for the sake of it" because she was never hungry. Soon after, she developed an eating disorder.
At 17, Schober was consuming far below the recommended caloric intake for an adult, let alone a growing teenager. "I was eating just a peach a day, I couldn't bear the thought of eating," she told . "It was like I was punishing myself." Terrified of food and unable to get herself to eat, Schober spent months in the hospital and struggled with suicidal feelings — and but even in the care of doctors, she continued to lose weight.
Her condition deteriorated until a year ago when she first met Jason, her now-boyfriend, with whom she quickly fell in love. "When Jason met me ... I was a completely different person," she says. "When I look back now, I can't believe it, I was just skin and bone." Crediting the support and love she received from her partner, she felt capable of addressing her and eventually recovering from it.
"Jason stepped in and encouraged me to eat more, he would take me out for meals and buy snacks like popcorn for us," she remembers. "Soon, I found enjoyment in eating again." Realizing that she wanted a future filled with a loving marriage and children helped Schober to desire a healthy life for the both of them, as opposed to feeling hopeless and resigned.
Obviously, simply falling in love can't cure an eating disorder — it's much more complicated than that — but having a strong, constant support system can make recovery seem more attainable and desirable for the sufferer.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, head to the to find resources and information.