National Eating Disorders Week, which runs February 26 through March 4, 2017, was created to shine light on eating disorders and provide resources for those who may be struggling. Spearheaded by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the week also highlights the severity of the problem — 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives, NEDA reports.

Read: Anorexia And Bulimia: Brains Of People With Eating Disorders Communicate Backward​

Eating disorders cause serious disruption in people's lives, and affect them psychologically, physically, and socially. Three common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Although battling an eating disorder is a different experience for everyone, I spoke with a young woman who shared what it was like going through what she describes as "the most painful, heartbreaking, and toughest" time of her life.

A Journey Into Recovery

From a young age, 25-year-old Michayla Lupien always “felt like too much.” She was a ball of energy and found herself most at home when she was on stage singing and dancing.

“I desired being a petite, quiet, and lovable kid,” Lupien told Medical Daily. “And figured my life would be better if I wasn’t ‘so much’ of a personality and person.”

Lupien, who entered the professional world of performing at age 10, constantly felt pressured to be thinner by her peers.

In middle school, after a friend told her people were making fun of her "love handles," her whole life changed. She began a vicious cycle of counting calories, skipping meals, restricting, binging, and purging.

“It’s such a lonely disease. Sometimes my disorder felt like my only friend,” Lupien said.

After trying treatment twice, she never fully recovered, which forced her to give up theatre.

“When theatre was no longer a part of my life, I spiraled,” Lupien said. “My entire life was just my eating disorder. I didn’t leave the house for fear of being seen by strangers who might think I’m fat.”

It took urging from her outpatient team for her to give treatment another try.

By seeking help at the Eating Recovery Center (ERC), she finally realized she was never "too much." After being released from the ERC this past September, Lupien has regained control of her life. She also gained back her true passion and recently wrapped up a professional production of "A Christmas Carol."

“I choose to recover every single day (sometimes minute by minute),” Lupien said. "I’m really starting to feel like myself for the first time in ten years.”

Her advice for those who are struggling: Don't delay and get help as soon as possible. "Do not wait until you 'are sick enough' for treatment because your eating disorder will never have you beleiving you are," Lupien said.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, contact the Eating Recovery Center. Call 877-789-5758, email, or visit to speak with a Masters-Level Clinician.

See also: Will I Have Anorexia Or Bulimia My Whole Life? Eating Disorders Study Says Most Women Recover​

Eating Disorder Treatment Latest: Deep Brain Stimulation May Lessen Anorexia Symptoms​