Come as you are: It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Month

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Come as you are.

That's the message this National Eating Disorders Awareness Month.

Eating disorders are serious but treatable.

It affects all people.

TV Five sat down with Adelaide Valley, a young woman who is going through the struggle, spreading a message of hope and awareness.

She says, "I isolated myself, and I just became really caught up in my thoughts, and before I knew it, I was knee deep in an eating disorder."

Roughly a year ago, 18-year-old Adelaide, a college student, started to feel extreme stress and anxiety.

She says, "I was not eating, over-exercising. I had a heart condition at the time. It was pretty far gone. I struggled to get help."

She was hospitalized for about a month.

Adelaide says, "My family was there, very supportive, but it wasn't the help that I needed. It was extremely difficult. Especially for my mom, who was always there for me and noticed a trend but couldn't help. Even at the hospital, my parents had no control, it was up to the doctors. So, they were basically just watching from the side as their daughter withered away."

Her doctors sent her to an Eating Recovery Center in Colorado.

She spent four months in treatment there.

Her motto, "Tough times don't last, but tough people do."

National surveys estimate 20-million women and 10-million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

She says, "It wasn't just not eating. It was stress. It was not being able to communicate with others. It was voices in my head that were telling me, 'you're not good enough, society won't except you.' There's such a stigma these days behind mental health. I think this NEDA week gives us a platfrom to say if you're struggling, don't be afraid to get help."

Adelaide says she's not recovered, "You're going to struggle. You're going to feel those down days and struggle to get yourself out of those kind of deep holes. But recovery is worth it, and seeing yourself in a better light and being able to accept yourself is much better than being able to accept yourself as a fake person."

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can reach out to Acadia Hospital. That number is 973-6048.

To learn more about eating disorders visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.