May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Eating Disorders Awareness Week was from February 26th to March 4th. Those very close to me know the importance of both to me- those who know me extremely well know of the battle I won against both.
Before the month is completely over I wanted to share some of my story, not for attention, but because of the importance of sharing, because maybe it can help someone, or show someone that they are not alone.
For those who believe that having an eating disorder is a choice, it’s not. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to have an eating disorder. At this moment in my life I was suffering internally. I had let people in my life destroy my soul while I screamed silently, completely frozen. I felt that I had lost every possible control of my body, my life. I felt helpless, hopeless, alone, lost. I was constantly mad, disappointed, scared, and/or sad. I was desperate to find something that I could control. Right when I felt like I had nothing left my eating disorders made me feel like they were there to help me through the pain, to help me cope, to be my friends, but it that was far from my reality.
People had a tough time understanding what was happening to me physically and internally. I would lash out for the smallest things and then just burst into tears, or suddenly I’d be overly happy trying so hard to be the nicest person. When I had a good day my parents felt a glimpse of relief feeling like they finally did something right, when they never did anything wrong. It was all me. My parents are humans, humans make mistakes, we each keep growing as people and learning from one another- there is nothing I have to forgive my parents. My parents are one of my greatest gifts from life, and I have been truly blessed.
At that moment in my life everything turned dark and scary. I couldn’t control my emotions or my thoughts, my mind was driving me crazy and I couldn’t find a way out. I was trapped. I realize now that those that I believed in whispered lies into my ears. Lies about me, lies about my family, lies about everything. I realize now that I was surrounded by incredible people that I let slip out of my life. I realize that my family was and is as beautiful as they come. I realize now that my family wanted to help me, but simply didn’t know how but kept pouring all their love my way.
It wasn’t about the food or a desire to be thin. This isn’t something I wish on anyone. Eating disorders are not a joke. Joking about them really hurts and poking fun at someone hurts. Don’t say something like “You need to eat an entire pizza, you’re barely visible,” maybe you don’t mean harm, but that stabs. It’s insensitive and diminishing.
It’s disgusting to me how people don’t take this matter seriously. What’s more appalling to me is the constant jokes made about eating disorder saying things like, “Date a girl with an eating disorder, that will be a cheap date.” People have no idea the suffering that others go through. Someone standing right next to you can be going through an eating disorder and be planning to end their life, yes it can lead to suicide, be careful with what you say and how you act.
Eating disorders can affect absolutely anyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race, and/or age. They’re a mental illness with physical affects meaning it’s not tied to your shape or size- you don’t need to be abnormally over or under weight, someone can be in their “right” size and be suffering just as much.
Be mindful but also become informed. I suffered from anorexia and bulimia, but did you know there’s more than just those two eating disorders? Some others include Atypical anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, purging disorder, night eating syndrome, etc.
This is an issue that needs more light on it, an issue that needs to be taken a whole lot more seriously. We shouldn’t be hearing jokes about it on TV or reading jokes about it anywhere. You shouldn’t judge anyone for going through an eating disorder, you’re just pushing that person more over the ledge, you’re making them feel more trapped.
Eating disorders aren’t a trend or a phase, and they most certainly aren’t a choice.
It’s not impossible to recover- I promise you. We are stronger than we believe we are and more beautiful than we think we are. You aren’t alone in this. Just breathe.
For more information on eating disorders:
For their help line call:
Here’s a link to an article I thought was a good read: