Written by Meagan Anderson
I didn't want to open up about my eating disorder.
I have struggled with body dysmorphia for as long as I can remember. Growing up I would constantly compare my body to women’s in magazines or even my own friends. Because of this, my disordered eating habits began at a young age. I often would overeat to deal with stress and then limit my food intake to make up for it the day after. When I got to college and was not under my parent’s supervision it became easier than ever to have abnormal eating habits. It didn’t take long for me to start binging and purging. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing for over a year and even then I downplayed it. The reason for my silence was that my eating disorder was constantly lying to me about why I should not open up to others about what I was going through. Here is a list of the biggest lies it told me.
1. “You don’t have an eating disorder.”
The realization of this lie is something that I have read and re-read about on every ED recovery page I follow. It’s the biggest lie that an eating disorder tells us. Despite seeing other people talk about this struggle it still took me a very long time to admit to myself that I have an eating disorder. I still to this very day have difficulty admitting it. I'm now realizing that the moment I admitted it to myself was the same moment I began my recovery. The ability to recognize it and talk about it has lead to healthier choices for me. Now when I relapse and throw up I know that I need to address the situation immediately because I don’t have control over this disease.
2. “You are in control.”
My eating disorder would tell me this every time I threw up. It would say “it’s just this once” or “it’s fine you don’t do it after every meal”. These rationalizations about my eating disorder only harmed me. I felt that my actions were my choice and if/when I wanted to stop I would be able to. To a point this was true I could go stretches of time without throwing up but it would just take one minute of weakness for me to be right back to where I started, rationalizing why it was okay for me to do this to my body.
3. “If you tell anyone they will think you are doing this for attention.”
This is something that repeated itself in my mind every time I even considered telling someone close to me about what I was doing. I didn’t want people to think poorly of me. I thought that if I told them that I was throwing up they would think I was being vain and stupid. I was so sure that no one would understand and that I would be judged. This was so far from the truth. When I did open up to my boyfriend and a couple close friends everything they said was loving and encouraging.
4. "It isn’t a big deal/ you are not sick enough."
I was constantly comparing my eating disorder to other people’s experiences. I have had friends who have also struggled with eating disorders that ended up in the hospital. I thought that what I was going through was not nearly as severe and therefore I did not need any help. I thought I wasn’t “thin enough” for my eating disorder to be unhealthy. Even writing that now makes me cringe. That mindset was heartbreaking and so untrue. Eating disorders are a problem for people of all shapes and sizes and it is always okay, no matter how severe your eating disorder is, to ask for help.