While I might not live in the US I’m not oblivious to the fact it is once more National Eating Disorders Awareness [NEDA] week. Like I mentioned last year I wish this was international in anyway because eating disorders [unfortunately] don’t know any borders. They’re taking over lives of people and stealing happiness everywhere on this planet with no end in sight. What we can do, however, is contribute to share our experiences to encourage others struggling to reach out and feel less ashamed as well as help those who never struggled understand the going-ons better.
I’ve been thinking about posting this or not because it’s a huge part of my story [that I have yet to share in its whole]. In the end, I decided to let my thoughts out loud.
Just as a warning ahead: I briefly mention weight and calories so if you feel you might be triggered please skip this post.
- I didn’t cut out any foods, much less whole food groups. Not disordered enough, right?
- Sugar has never been the devil for me at any point. Actually, I remember living off semolina pudding cooked in chocolate soy milk for almost every main meal for a short time. Not disordered enough, right?
- I didn’t exercise for hours on end. Most of the time, I even took rest days. Not disordered enough, right?
- I never stopped eating completely. In fact, I never dropped below those magical 1,200 calories. Not disordered enough, right?
- My lowest BMI was nowhere near the ones of others dangling along the lines of 12, 13 or 14. So, clearly not disordered enough, right?!
Oh, how wrong. I was clearly disordered. If it wasn’t obvious enough from reading those lines that – in one way or another were actually running through my head – I was showing physical signs, too. Anybody but me knew what was going on or had their suspicions.
For a long time I saw the skinny people around, the unhealthy behaviours. They all deserved help ASAP in my opinion. Yet I never deemed myself ‘disordered enough’. Was I counting calories? Weighing myself obsessively? Skipping meals? Check, check and check. But still: not severe enough for my [disordered] mind.
I once – at the demand of my parents – attended a therapy group that involved eating with the other patients. And when I wasn’t satisfied at the end of the meal asking for more they told me I couldn’t really be disordered [note that I was at one of my lowest weights at this point!]. See: not disordered enough again.
Yes,there will always be somebody who is even skinnier. Somebody who works out for longer. Somebody who eats less. Maybe even nothing anymore. But: is any of this actually commendable? By far not. Starting recovery ‘too early’ isn’t possible. Too late, however? That sadly is a possibilty.
To those who have never struggled with an ED: I know for a [sad] fact I’m not the only one who had or has those thoughts. It can occur in people at every size. What to you looks like the most obvious sign of the disorder can look like the opposite for the woman [or man] struggling. ED voices aren’t logical. At all. But they can be very powerful and convincing in their non-logical logic. [see above ‘not disordered enough’ examples]
Don’t ever assume – much less tell! - somebody they weren’t disordered enough or make comments on eating disorders without further knowledge of their seriousness. There is no set weight, BMI or other physical sign to determine how much an ED might influence a person’s mind and overall life. Some disorders can hide for a long time with a lot of damage going on below the surface already. A lot of grey space.
So if you are struggling with food and weight but that voice in your head tells you you weren’t disordered enough: think again. You deserve help. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live. We all do.
No questions today but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.
Stay in touch!