I’ve mentioned before that it’s really important to be mindful of others. We all make the mistake of thinking we know something before we really do, and we all can be too quick to judge someone or something.
Here are a few things I wish people understood about Eating Disorders in general.
These are things I felt while I was deep into my disorder, through out my treatment, recovery, and now as a recovery advocate.
1.”Why can’t you just eat? ” Don’t say that. Never say that. It’s not helpful ad it’s insensitive. Seriously, if it was as easy as just eating, I would not be writing this blog.
2 There is no cure, or magic pill. Recovery is different for everyone so asking “How long is this going to take? “not only makes you sound naive, it makes you seem non educated, and un-involved.
3. “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder”. Here’s the big one guys. Let me tell you straight up: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK A CERTAIN WAY to have an eating disorder. There are so many people who judge how “sick” someone is by their weight. This could not be further from the truth and it literally scares the crap out of me that there are even trained medical professionals who have this mind-set. So many people continue struggling because they don’t feel they are worth treatment. They don’t feel they make the “criteria” so they continue with their unhealthy behaviors just getting sicker and sicker, sometimes even getting positive feed back from other’s. I could go on and on about this, but I can feel my blood boiling and I might save it for a different blog post. An eating disorder is a terrible disease that torments your mind, body, and soul, it does not discriminate, and no matter the size or shape of your body, if you are struggling with an eating disorder, you are sick, and you deserve the same treatment, the same health care, the same support as anyone that fits the Eating Disorder Stigma.
4. Don’t comment on my body or my weight. Even things like “You look healthy.”or “You look better.” can be triggering to someone in treatment or recovery. Our bodies go through many different uncomfortable changes, we know it but are trying to deal with these changes as well as all the other emotions of recovery and letting go of our eating disorder. We don’t need other reminders that other people are noticing. Deep down we know you are just trying to be supportive, it’s just not helpful. Of course as people recover most of the time we have a higher tolerence for things, but it is still extremely important to be mindful of the trauma and stressors we have been dealing with.
5. Diet Talk. End it Stop it. I’m so over it. I still hate hearing about people’s diets. I get it, it’s life. Everyone’s on some sort of diet, or shake, or fat. All the power to you. But forgive me if I really don’t want to participate in the conversation. Nutrition labels and cointing calories took over my life for way too long. Unfortunately, chances are that whatever you are eating I know the nutrition facts. I hate that I know it, and I wish I could erase it from my brain. I know what’s healthy, I know what’s not, but if I am eating something that seems out of he norm for me there’s no need to make a comment. I eat when I’m hungry, I stop when I’m full, I induldge on occassion, sometimes more, sometimes less. I don’t make comments about your meal choices, there’s no need to make comments on mine.
6. If you are supporting someone with an eating disorder, ask them what type of support they need. Do they need you during meal time, do they need you after meal time for distraction. Can you help them at the grocery store. Can you be their buffer when it’s time to go out to dinner with a group of people and not every one knows the situation? Do they need you to be the one to tell them they didn’t stick to their meal plan. Maybe they need you to come to a support group, or a medical appointment with them.
I know everyone wants to help, but there are so many different ways, and everyone is so different. Ask. Educate yourself. You really could save someone’s life.