'RHONJ' 's Jackie Goldschneider Starting 'Recovery from an 18 Year-Long Eating Disorder'

The reality star began therapy on last night’s episode to heal from "18 years of dangerous habits, secretive behaviors and obsessive eating"

Jackie Goldschneider is starting the process of healing after struggling with an eating disorder for the last 18 years of her life.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 45, has dealt with anorexia for most of her adult life, and on Tuesday's episode viewers saw her commit to therapy and repairing her relationship with food.

"Tonight's episode marked the beginning of my recovery from an 18 year-long eating disorder that took over my mind, my body and my life," she wrote on Instagram ahead of the show. "18 years of dangerous habits, secretive behaviors and obsessive eating and exercise patterns that I was terrified to let go of, because I wrapped so much of my identity around being thin."

"I was ashamed of my behavior around food and scared that people wouldn't understand why or how I could do this to myself," she continued. "I also didn't know how to get help, as a middle-aged woman with 4 young children."

In the episode, Goldschneider talks to a therapist about how she was heavy as a child and it was "so traumatic," recalling a time when a boy at school saw her putting on lipstick and told her it won't help.

As she considered what she would have to do to break free of her eating disorder, Goldschneider told her therapist that she's afraid of losing control of the eating habits she's kept for nearly 20 years. The reality star expressed her exhaustion from constantly worrying about what she's going to eat, especially if she's going out to dinner with friends and can't regulate her food.

"I hate it so much and my body hurts and I do it anyway," she said.

Jackie Goldschneider
Jackie Goldschneider. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Her husband, Evan Goldschneider, said that Jackie heavily restricts her meals, no matter where she is.

"Since I've met Jackie we've never been on a vacation more than 4 nights because she didn't want to have so many meals outside of her control," Evan said. "For so many years she would only eat steamed vegetables. We would have to call in advance to restaurants to make sure they would steam spinach."

RELATED VIDEO: RHONJ's Jackie Goldschneider Worries About an Eating Disorder Relapse: 'I'm So Scared of Food'

Jackie told her therapist that her irrational fear is that if she puts on weight, her husband won't love or embrace her anymore. And she knows her eating disorder has had an effect on her four kids — twins Jonas and Adin, 13, and twins Alexis and Hudson, 11 — telling her therapist that whenever she takes them out for ice cream, she never gets any for herself.

"I just feel bad that I made it seem like I was recovered when I am so clearly not," Jackie said.

Writing on Instagram, Jackie said that she's glad to have the opportunity to make her eating disorder public because "there's so much shame around ED's," and because she hopes that by talking openly about it she can help others who are struggling.

"In my darkest days, I desperately wanted to see someone who had suffered like I suffered, and who had successfully recovered and lived a happy life," she wrote. "When I ultimately decided to acknowledge and recover from this, I wanted to be that person for as many other people as I could."

"Having these conversations on camera was terrifying at times and heartbreaking to watch back, but I am so thankful that I'm finally on this road and I'm grateful to Bravo for allowing me to break my silence so publicly, so that people know there is no shame in having an eating disorder or in asking for help, and that help is available for anyone at any stage of life."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.

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