Hi. It is National Eating Disorder Week and there is a reason I am waiting until the last second to acknowledge this. I have started three different posts this week. Each time asking myself what do I want to put out there? What do I want people to know? Each post I answered that question differently and each time things felt inauthentic.
So here we are, Thursday afternoon and there are 2 ½ days left to aknowledge ED awareness week.
What do I want people to know? I think my block has been a result of the fact I want people to know a lot of things.
I want people to know eating disorders are common. Around 30 million humans in the U.S. suffer from some form of an eating disorder. That is like . . . a lot of people. That means YOU know someone who has had or has an eating disorder.
I want people to know that eating disorders are deadly. Believe it or not EDs have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The mortality rate associated with just anorexia nervosa alone is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old.
I want people to know that I feel a lot of hope and gratitude as I’ve seen our culture has been shifting in some ways to promote more anti diet and body positivity content, which is wonderful. And powerful.
However, I want you to know that it isn’t an act of service to put a “plus size” model who wears a size 6 on a magazine cover. And it’s confusing that someone wants to be affirmed for doing so.
With that- I want everyone to know that eating disorders are complex. They are not just about what your body looks like. And sometimes it can feel pretty insulting when we make a disease all about aesthetics.
I want people to know that you don’t have to be a teenage girl to have an eating disorder. And you don’t have to be underweight to have one either.
I want you to know that these things never quite go away completey. So, when you make that comment that you are “so proud of me for eating dessert” I may hear you say I’m doing something wrong and it can be super painful.
I want you to know that eating disorders are solutions to problems that stop working. Which means at some point- they worked. So, when someone relapses it isn’t because they want to fail- it is because they want a solution, a break, maybe even just some peace.
I want you to know that Whole30 does not promote a healthy lifestyle. It has actually been named one of the WORST programs to follow. (stay tuned for an entire post on why I feel this way) So please, do not encourage someone struggling with an eating disorder to look into Whole30, or anyone really.
OH AND. . .I want the guy I went on a date with recently who wanted me to give him evidence that I actually struggled with disordered eating because there is a huge difference between being fat and losing weight and having an actual eating disorder to know that he’s right. And I want him to know there is also a huge difference between wanting to know someone’s story and being a complete dick. And you don’t deserve to know my story.
And lastly, for you, you who is struggling with your own eating disorder- I want you to know there is hope. I know the hope and I feel it every day. I want you to know that there are people who want to hear your story, there is a way to find your power again, and this does not have to be your forever.
This post looks a bit different than I imagined. But it feels pretty authentic. I believe the best part about Eating Disorder Awareness Week is it gives us all a little more permission to talk about something most people don’t feel like they are allowed to talk about. Let this be a way to open the conversation . . . I’ve shared my part, its your turn:
What do you want people to know?