There are two things (ok a lot of things but lets just focus on these two for a second) that absolutely drive me insane when people say them to me.
1. Oh my gosh I wish I could have your problem!
2. Why can’t you just eat a few cheeseburgers?
In a weight loss crazed society I can somewhat understand, sort of, why people might say something like, “I wish I could have the same self-control,” “I wish I had the ambition to exercise everyday,” or “I wish I could eat whatever I want because I had to gain weight…”
To someone who does not have an completely irrational mental disorder, I understand that MAYBE these things might be in a sense, appealing, or seem like they good attributes, but I can assure you, you DO NOT under any circumstances, want the horrific thoughts, feelings, physical pain, mental distortions, or million and one other bad things that come with being sick.
Self-control is an understatement because even though I may think I am in complete control of my body, I am absolutely not.
ED, a crazed, possessive force is actually in charge and if I defy what the parasite tells me to do, it means hours, days, weeks, of hell to pay.
Maybe being thin is “in,” but the baggage that comes with being consumed by it, is NOT fun, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I don’t openly discuss my issues at work or outside my immediate family and close when we are in my hometown. Obviously anyone who reads my blog is in on the “secret,” but it is not something I typically tell people.
Its gotten to the point where no one really makes any comments about my appearance, unless my body starts getting bigger (seriously triggering and irritating) but there have been instances when random people will say, “why can’t you just eat a couple cheeseburgers and put some meat on those bones.”
This is especially the case if someone is completely misunderstanding of the disorder.
I remember when Ryan told my dad and explained the severity of my state, his solution was we could go to his favorite pizza shop and I could just eat a large pie.
He was joking, I think, but that is how some people perceive the recovery process; a person who is suffering just has to eat and everything will be fine.
If only it were that easy…
Last week I discussed the incredible guilt that comes from attempting fear foods, allowing yourself to “let go,” etc. but honestly, one of the most difficult parts of getting healthy is working through the underlying beliefs, often non-food related, that manifest through restriction of calories, over-exercise and bodily abuse.
My self-hatred does not have to do solely with a fear of being fat. I am scared of a bigger body, for sure, but typically I manipulate my recovery plan the most when something happens in my life that makes me feel out of control, inadequate or overly emotional in any respect.
I don’t like dealing with internal feelings, especially when they are challenging and beyond my realm of management, so I naturally turn to an aspect of life I can influence and that is my body.
Because this disorder is so private and somewhat socially acceptable (remember, thin is in!) there is a lack of understanding within the general public.
I have said this probably a million times but an eating disorder is so not about the food.
It is a major part of it, but it is coupled with a lot of negative self-talk, suppression of emotion, and perfectionist tendencies that cannot be solved by an increased meal plan or another bag of McDonald’s.
I appreciate people trying to give their insight and support through the two statements I listed above, but I wish I could provide more education to help others understand that an eating disorder is incredibly complex, about way more than nutrition, and despite the fact that most who are suffering try to emulate that we are totally fine and can handle everything that is going on, we can’t.
We just may not be ready to ask for the help verbally, but it is demonstrated pretty well physically.