Singer Nessa Barrett opens up about her year-long eating disorder recovery: ‘There’s so much you don’t see’
Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of eating disorders and disordered eating. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.
Support is pouring in for singer Nessa Barrett, who recently opened up about her private battle with an eating disorder, as well as her year-long journey toward recovery, in a candid Instagram post.
In it, Barrett confesses that she quietly battled anorexia before going on tour last year to promote her first album, Young Forever. Ultimately, the physical and mental pressures of touring caught up to her, finally forcing the singer to make some critical life changes.
“the only way i could have done all of my shows was if i started taking care of my body and mental health,” Barrett wrote in her highly personal post caption. “i’m so glad i took the steps to do so bc this tour made me the happiest i’ve ever been in my life.”
That said, the singer’s road to recovery hasn’t been easy, and she wants to be honest about that with her fans now because “there’s so much you don’t see.”
“i relapsed in my eating disorder and have heavily struggled with anorexia for almost a year now,” Barrett continued, adding that she often felt so weak she used to collapse and even pass out from lack of food.
It wasn’t until the singer began to see food as nourishment and the fuel she desperately needed to be physically up to performing that things started to shift.
“i’m so blessed and proud of myself for my current recovery journey,” the singer admitted, adding that going through ED recovery while on tour has been “one of the hardest challenges” in her life. “it’s taken such a physical and mental toll on my body and it also makes me feel so alone.”
A huge part of that recovery involves challenging herself to eat every day, dealing with the physical toll that anorexia has taken on her body and learning to see weight gain as something positive. That, coupled with confronting her ongoing body dysmorphia, has been “tremendously hard.”
“i have breakdowns before many shows bc i’m worried ab what to wear or how i’ll look on stage,” she shared. “i hate that i almost breakdown into tears trying to eat a meal. i hate that i can’t even look at photos or videos of my self on stage. it’s hard to even look in a mirror, my confidence has been severely damaged.”
Even so, Barrett is not about to give up on herself. Instead, she feels grateful for how far she’s come and how much her fans’ support has meant to her during her recovery.
“everyday on this tour i’ve tried to teach myself how much more important this music is and all of you guys are than how i feel ab my stupid body,” Barrett wrote. “what i’m trying to get at is thank u. bc i wouldn’t be able to push through this if it wasn’t for you. you give me purpose and you give me love when i hate myself. thank u for always helping me through my dark times even when u have no idea what i’m going through.”
Barrett’s post has received more than 607,000 likes since it was first shared. And judging by the comments, it’s resonating deeply with many of her fans.
“this. this is exactly why im proud to be a fan,” wrote one commenter. “your strength is literally so inspiring to me and so many others. you show to all of us that it is possible to push through the pain and eventually get better.”
“nessa, you help us with our struggles every single day without realizing it,” said another. “im so happy we can do the same for you.”
Many people have also begun to share similar stories of their own, including how they finally overcame years of disordered eating.
“currently dealing w relapsing right now,” one commenter confessed. “ur not alone love. thank you so much for being so honest.”
“i feel so connected to you as a human and literally feel like you are me in a different life,” wrote someone else who is now studying to be a registered dietician after overcoming anorexia and binge-eating. “although talking to people helped, i was really the only person who could help myself. once i realized that and once i realized that food is fuel for my body and nothing else should matter, is when i recovered.”
Other commenters simply left kind notes of encouragement, hoping that they would somehow reach the singer and reassure her that she is loved.
“your vulnerability makes it a bit easier for those of us who are going through the same thing,” one person told her. “you are not alone. Keep climbing to the top and slaying.”
This actually isn’t the first time Barrett has discussed her eating disorder. The singer opened up about it for the first time in her new single, “dying on the inside,” and then in a personal essay for NYLON in February, in which she said that her eating disorder first started in middle school but escalated when she moved to Los Angeles to begin her music career.
“I hate that it’s not really talked about enough,” Barrett wrote at the time. “It’s so much more than someone telling me to just eat more. It is a mental game that slowly starts to morph itself into this monster inside of you. It’s a mental illness, and we should treat it as such.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating habits, contact the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Visit the NEDA website to learn more about the possible warning signs of eating disorders and disordered eating.
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