My response to this was silence. How on earth do you reply to such a blatantly untrue statement? While I agree that regularly making yourself throw up is unhealthy, that on its own does not qualify as an eating disorder. If ed’s were a response to one triggering situation in one’s life, then the disorder would stop when the situation was over.
An eating disorder is a way of coping with, suppressing, expressing struggle, or even a cry for help when no words seem to do the job. It is not a phase, and although people recover, that is different to a disorder just stopping. No eating disorder fixes itself.
Later on in the same conversation, the person who made the bold statement in the title started talking about a friend who was really ill, and said to me “no, like, she was much worse than you.” May I just point out (again) that ed’s are MENTAL illnesses with physical consequences. Just because she may be lighter than me or have medical complications that I don’t have right at this very moment in time, it doesn’t mean I am any less sick. I just wanted to literally cry and scream and try to articulate just how overwhelming it is to be completely consumed by thoughts about my body, food, exercise and self criticism 24 hours a day.
I know I have said what I’m about to say before, but I want to say it again:
Society has bred itself to be exceptionally poised to idealise the thin and judge the fat. Many people do not know where a lean body becomes a medically underweight body.
At 19 years old, I have grown up a lot in the last few years. I have also spent that time being eating disordered and the more time passes, the more I realise that the last time I had a half decent attitude to food (can’t remember feeling good about my body) was around age 14/15. Even then, I had some hints of being over cautious about how much I ate and did go through many phases of calorie counting. As a result of all that I don’t know what my adult mindset is like without an eating disorder. I’ve never been in that place, and I’m scared of what it’d be like.
I remember reading somewhere that anorexics wanted to stay physically and mentally children, and part of me does want that. It is simpler like that; yet at the same time I love being independent and following my own ambitions…. conflicted, as always.
I know you said it, and I know we’ve all heard it. “Just because she may be lighter than me or have medical complications that I don’t have right at this very moment in time, it doesn’t mean I am any less sick.” As you stated, eating disorders are mental, not physical, so weight and complications shouldn’t matter, right? The hard part is believing that, in my opinion, for two reasons. One, because society, like her, believes in only what they can see. If you are not on your death bed, no one sees you as truly “sick.” And two, because our ED voice will beat the ever familiar phrase, “you are not sick enough,” “you are not good enough” unrelentingly into our minds. Believing that you are not any less sick than this other girl is amazing, and you do deserve treatment and to experience a mindset without disordered thoughts!<3
I’m often sucked into the “I’m not sick I’m fine” mentality, but hearing someone’s snap judgement about the severity of my illness purely based on appearance really angered me. Thank you for commenting 🙂
When I told one of my best friends in high school that I thought I had an eating disorder, she replied with, “We’ve all thrown up a time or two.” Ugh!
It is baffling how people don’t realise how negatively these comments affect people!
Aww hun. People can just be so ignorant. An eating disorder isn’t created by actions like restricting or making yourself sick, these are merely results of the illness. Anyone who does these things by choice needs help of entirely different sort! This girl is just attention seeking, ignore her. Hugs xx
Thankyou for the thoughtful comment 🙂 x
I completely relate, and it’s definitely frustrating. I don’t mind when people don’t know about a topic–this is a disorder that I struggle with, and I’m clueless as to probably 99% of the things others deal with. What irks me, like in what you described, is when people DON’T KNOW THAT THEY DON’T KNOW. It’s incredibly frustrating when people give feedback and advice about topics they know anecdotal evidence about only, or . . . well, just random things they half-know and partially made up.
I know, but I guess it is the same for so many other illnesses. People should keep their mouths shut!