This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week #NEDAwareness & therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity to CONTINUE to raise awareness about a mental illness that is far too often ignored, undermined & slipped under the rug.
Unfortunately, today’s society proclaims many myths surrounding eating disorders, one of which is that they’re solely defined by a victim’s appearance. Society teaches us that as long as we don’t fit the mould of the Caucasian teenage female who’s emaciated, starved, bony, frail & gaunt, we can’t be suffering from an ED.
Take it from me, SOCIETY’S TEACHINGS ARE WRONG.
Fact is, you can’t determine whether one suffers from an ED based on appearance. These false perceptions are part of the reason eating disorders are often ignored, undermined & underestimated & why victims often deny them for so long out of fear of not being “sick enough”, “thin enough” or “good enough” at their disorder to be worthy of help & treatment.
Although anorexia is often accompanied by severe & quick weight loss, many, if not most who suffer from an ED (whether it be: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia) aren’t underweight & guess what? THAT DOESN’T MAKE THEIR ILLNESS ANY LESS WORTHY OR LESS SEVERE THAN SOMEBODY WHO’S UNDERWEIGHT OR “LOOKS” ILL.
Here are a few fun facts to show you just how wrong this myth is.
- I developed an ED at the age of 25. I wasn’t a teen.
- My ED took control over my mind & I was sick long before I got to a point where I looked emaciated. When I got to a point where I was so mentally ill that I began to look sick, it was already too late.
- Today, I’m weight restored, but I still have disordered thoughts, triggers & days where all I want to do is jump right back into the comforting arms of my ED.
Do these FACTS mean I never had an ED or that my ED is less worthy than that of someone who might still be underweight, despite a full or partial recovery? No & no.
THESE FACTS DON’T TAKE AWAY FROM MY WORTH AS A WOMAN OR AS AN ED VICTIM. They’re facts & they’re real.
Today, I use them as a testament to raise awareness that YOUR ED IS WORTHY, whether you’re thin, at a normal weight, overweight, male, female, Caucasian, African-American, in your teens or an adult.
You don’t have to be what society tells you to be to be suffering.
You simply need to be ONE THING & ONE THING ONLY: You need to KNOW that you’re hurting & suffering, that something more powerful than you controls your mind & dictates that you should use your relationship with food to compensate for a lack of control in other aspects of your life.
Your eating disorder is about the way you FEEL, not about the way you LOOK.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.