When people think of eating disorders, it is most often viewed upon a person that is extremely underweight, and malnourished. What people don’t see are the people that are suffering right in front of your eyes. Did you know that having a normal body weight doesn’t exempt you from an eating disorder? The type of eating disorder that I am referring to is called “Eating disorder that is not otherwise specified” (EDNOS). The people that suffer this eating disorder are typically not underweight, and tend to be less likely to get help, but why?
I have suffered with my relationship with food for around seven years. Some periods of my life were way worse than others, but it’s something I continue to struggle with, even when I am working hard to overcome it. This type of relationship with food goes far beyond not wanting to eat something because it’s “fattening” or skipping the occasional meal. This is something that occurs every second, every minute, and every hour of the day. It is a constant fear of food. The worst part about it, is that it is most often unnoticed by even those that are closest to you.
We all say negative things about our bodies, and we try to eat healthy and keep active. It has become such a social norm to hate your body, that no one is taking the time to solve the issue. Typically people who suffer an eating disorder, do not even know they have one. Is society to blame? Is the lack of support or help to blame? Looking back on my worst times involving my issues with my body and food, the symptoms were there, but yet often times unnoticed.
It started with a fear of my own reflection, and my developing self hatred for myself, and my body image. I restricted meals, often times skipped them without anyone noticing. I constantly weighed myself, starved myself, and verbally abused myself. I thought that I was disgusting. The worst part about it was the overwhelming applaud that I would receive on a daily basis with how I started to look. People would ask me how I lost weight, and told me they wish they had the control I had over skipping lunch, or dinner. It was actually glorified, how disturbing is that? My thoughts were constantly consumed by what my next meal was going to be, I would cry if I ate something and felt bad, and lived with guilt you wouldn’t even believe, but yet I thought that if I would just achieve that “ideal weight” that all these negative thoughts would go away. Wrong.
Years later, I am beginning to understand the importance of developing my self love, and self respect. However, I still get those evil thoughts pop into my head from time to time, and that is a constant reminder of who I was and who I don’t want to be. I am starting to realize that suffering in your own mind doesn’t need to happen. We do not need to be a victim of our own self hate. I do not need to be a prisoner of my mind, and neither does anyone else. It’s essential to let those around you that may fall into this disorder, that you can lend a helping hand before it goes too far.
This is far worse than wanting to lose weight and look good, however if these thoughts become obsessive you may want to try to get help before it becomes your life. If you notice yourself, or someone you know isolate themselves, losing weight, and losing energy for the things they normally love, it could be leading to an eating disorder. Be mindful, and know that it doesn’t have to continue. Be respectful to others and watch the words that come out of your mouth, because it could be a potential trigger to yourself or others. If it wasn’t for people in my life noticing my lack of happiness and patterns with my relationship of food, I don’t know where I would be. I wasn’t in denial, and I knew I needed to help myself. People are there to help, and if they pay close enough attention, the signs become clear.
It is not an easy journey to self acceptance, but I would rather be a “normal” body weight and eat what I want and be happy, than suffer everyday over my body and my next meal. If you notice that you are a victim to self hate and your idea of achieving perfection, seek help. Understand that there is so much happiness outside of the hell we have created in our minds. Talk to someone before it escalates. We can overcome this horrible disorder, but we need to support ourselves, and receive support from those around us. I may still have those days where I fear my plate, and my reflection, but I remember that I am not defined by this illness and I will not allow it back in my life.
If you, or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, just know there is such thing as happiness and an escape.
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