Not disordered enough? [NEDA week]

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.

Source

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.

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16 thoughts on “Not disordered enough? [NEDA week]

  1. Marfigs says:

    Even when you are at the extreme and all the signs are there, doctors or professionals whose job it is to help you don’t always say the words “ED”, and that also makes a helluva difference in denial and on-going self-abuse or what not. I think in such a case as you’ve described however, it’s equally terrifying because so many people fall through the cracks and their damage is just as keen and long-lasting.

  2. Laura says:

    I’ve said this to a few people this week, but I remember the first time I was hospitalized (actually, the only time) I was at the low end of my “healthy weight range”. My heart almost stopped, my heart couldn’t pump blood to my extremities, but I was still technically in the “healthy weight range”. So to me…I wasn’t disordered enough. I actually never thought I was, for the next 8 years. However in the past year I have realized that “disordered enough” doesn’t exist. My life lost life, and THAT is enough to ask for help.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      “My life lost life, and THAT is enough to ask for help.” <- You summed it up perfectly in that one sentence. No matter of weight, how many disordered habits there are or how long a person's been struggling: the damage is done right there.

  3. Ms.J says:

    Its a slippery slope indeed; I wholeheartedly echo your thoughts – does being warranted “deserving” of help require one to be a living corpse? That most definitely cannot be. I didn’t weigh myself once in the depths of my ED yet that means nothing..I was anorexic and I needed all the help and support in the world. And I can’t resist but say – it is unfortunately clear that Eating disorder tendencies have sadly become the norm..making it harder for individuals -in a dangerously impressionable state- to recover I’ll say.

  4. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    I remember feeling the same way when I was in the depths of my disorder… that I wan’t really all THAT sick. Nevermind that I couldn’t find the energy to lift myself out of bed some mornings or that my heart threatened to give out. I didn’t need help. Bah! It seriously breaks my heart to see so many men and women struggling with disordered eating habits and thinking that they don’t have a problem. But I think society and media holds a lot of the blame for that one. IT’s scary how normal some of these abnormal behaviours are becoming. Like we’re expected to count calories, hate our bodies, and starve ourselves daily. That’s just not right 😕

  5. Irina says:

    I think that one of the main reasons that EDs are so difficult to diagnose is because there are no clear lines on “what is enough” and what is just a habit/preference. And even more so, it’s a challenge to pinpoint certain habits that are now so commonly seen in our society. It’s all so upsetting and unfortunate 😦 Many times it comes down to us to figure out if we’re slipping too far…

  6. Charlotte says:

    I honestly can’t think of anyone I know who hasn’t, at some point, struggled with disordered eating in some way. Not necessarily enough to be diagnosed or what have you, but enough for it to affect their lives. The more people talk about it the less taboo and stigmatized it becomes — great post!! well done!

  7. Alex @ True Femme says:

    This was an awesome post and this topic of “not disordered enough” really needs to be talked about more. There’s this idea that in order to be “sick enough” you have to look a certain way, consume a certain amount of calories, and perform certain behaviors, but just as health looks different for everyone, so can an eating disorder. It’s great that eating disorders are gaining more awareness, but I particularly loved that you talked about this topic because I think a lot of people don’t think they are sick enough or have a true disorder and therefore don’t deserve help, which is not the case! Thank you for your honesty and bravery with this post! ❤

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