1. Eating Disorders look a certain way. You have to be skin and bones to be “sick enough” to have an eating disorder.
Let’s just clear this one up right away: most people with an eating disorder are not underweight. Although our society stereotypes and glamorizes eating disorders as only looking emaciated, you just simply can’t tell whether someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.
This core belief, that you have to look a certain way to be “sick enough” for treatment is why so many, like myself, fail to seek treatment for so long.
2. Eating Disorders are not primarily about food.
Eating disorders are extremely complex. Our food issues are simply on the surface level, masking deeper, emotional issues. Never dismiss someone simply because you see them eat.
3. Only females have eating disorders.
Seriously, it’s almost 2018, are we for real? At least 1 in 4 cases of eating disorders are males.
4. “Oh you went to treatment for a few months? I’m so glad you’re all better and healthy!”
Like many sufferers, those with eating disorders may go in and out of treatment through out their life. Eating disorders are a life long battle and treatment is aimed at learning to cope with it. If I’m being honest, I think 90% of the time we leave treatment it’s actually because our insurance is no longer willing to cover it- not that we are “all better”.
5. “Oh nobody actually likes their body, that’s normal. You’re fine.”
Yes I realize we live in a shit society that nearly tears everyone’s body apart. I know overall our confidence has been shot- but please don’t compare my serious medical issues with a low confidence- that’s like 5% of the issue.
6. Getting to a healthy weight means you are CURED!
No, no it does not. Eating disorders are a lifelong battle. I’ll never be “cured” I’ll just have better management tools.
7. “You just have to eat and you’ll be better.”
THANK GOODNESS! I had no idea that’s all I had to do….
Don’t you think if “just eating” worked I would have done that before spending $$$$$ on therapy and treatment?
8. Eating Disorders are a disease of vanity.
Having an eating disorder is not a choice. Eating disorders develop overtime from several contributing factors such as biological, social, psychological and interpersonal factors.
9. “At least it’s just an eating disorder, you could have it a lot worse”
It’s commonly known that up to 20% of individuals with chronic anorexia nervosa will die as a result of their illness. However, community studies of anorexia, bulimia, and eating disorder not otherwise specified show that all eating disorders have similar mortality rates.
Nonetheless, besides medical complications from binge eating, purging, starvation, and over-exercise, those who struggle with eating disorders also have a severely impacted quality of life.
I realize I do not have cancer or a chronic condition and I am so very thankful for that, but I am fighting my own battle each day and I would appreciate respect (not sympathy) for that.
10. And my favorite- You just have to learn to love yourself and your body.
Easier said than done. If it took me 8 years to develop an eating disorder, it’s going to take at least 8 to overcome it. Recovery is exhausting but it does happen- just not over night!