we all have preconceived ideas about basically everything.
including eating disorders.
maybe before you, or someone you know, was diagnosed, you didn’t realize the mental disorder to its full extent.
i know i didn’t.
i always pictured skeletons that never ate and became thin over a period of weeks. then they were fed “normal food” and bounced right back.
wrong. so wrong.
here are 10 common myths regarding eating disorders and recovery, challenged:
1. “this is just a phase.”
this is not a phase. an eating disorder is a mental illness which is just as serious as any other illness.
today, people have a better chance at surviving from cancer than an eating disorder.
that’s frightening to me.
diseases don’t just “go away” magically, treatment is needed.
2. “developing an eating disorder was your choice.”
no one wakes up one morning and thinks to herself:
“i think today’s the day i’m going to become bulimic!”
eating disorders are a result of a chemical imbalance in one’s brain.
this makes it totally and completely out of control.
3. “it’s only about becoming skinny.”
this is a stereotype that particularly bothers me.
there are hundreds of types of the flu that people can get every year.
the flu is an illness.
an eating disorder is an illness, too.
there’s no one reason someone develops the disorder and it’s definitely not all about being thin.
4. “anorexia is the only real eating disorder.”
i wish i could have every bulimic in the world knock on the doors of people who believe this and smack them in the face.
yes, anorexia is a very real disease.
but so is bulimia, e.d.n.o.s., compulsive eating, b.d.d., binge eating disorder and pica, only to name a few.
many people suffering from one of these disorders show symptoms of multiple others.
that would be impossible if anorexia was the only one.
5. “eating disorders are a disease for teenage girls.”
this particular statement breaks my heart especially because it only sheds light on the struggles of one kind of group.
for those of you who aren’t aware, i have a twitter @RecoveryBeauty which is closely tied with my blog.
not only are my followers from around the world but they are people from all ages, races and genders.
i have talked to 17 year old boys from the UK and a 52 year old woman from the Uniter States, both suffering with the same disorder and the same symptoms.
just like there is no one type of eating disorder, there is no one kind of person susceptible to this disease.
6. “anorexics never eat.”
yes they do.
here’s something about the disorder that is commonly overlooked:
people with eating disorders are ashamed of their physical appearance and are ashamed to eat in public, yet they do eat in secret.
if you have an eating disorder, you’re still alive.
you’ve been eating, just not to the full caloric intake you should be.
7. “if you look healthy or overweight, you can’t have an eating disorder.”
this makes me the most angry of all.
i personally know people, and have talked to so many more, who are classified as “healthy” or “overweight/obese” and they are suffering from an eating disorder just as real as someone who weighs 90 lbs.
in an earlier post, i describe in great detail my own struggle with anorexia.
i had been struggling with the disease for almost two years until anyone noticed because i still looked healthy.
it wasn’t until i was under 108 lbs was i officially classified as “underweight.”
the charts and scales aren’t able to measure what the mind is doing.
there is no cookie cutter image for an eating disorder.
8. “recovery is fast.”
i’d love it if anyone currently trying to recover or fully recovered would comment with how long the process is taking/took.
recovery is a battle.
that’s the best way to say it.
it’s filed with ups and downs, retraining your brain and body to do something as “simple” as eat, learning to love yourself and so much more.
you didn’t get to the point where recovery was needed in a day, it takes years.
9. “learning to eat again is easy.”
please check out #8 because it’s very relevant.
learning to eat may seem easy but it’s definitely harder than it sounds.
just how many people recover from eating disorders? recent statistics are rather shocking:
50% of people make a full recovery.
30% of people make a partial recovery.
20% of people do not recover at all and relapse back to their old ways.
try telling the other half it’s easy.
trust me, if they were attempting recovery, they wanted it.
10. “you will always have an eating disorder.”
will you always have the memories of the disorder?
do these memories have to continue to control your every move?
you are more than a mental illness.
you are more than another statistic.
you are more than this life.
recovery is possible.
it’s a hard fight, but so many people have gone before you and won.
for more information on recovery, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association.
you are beautiful.
you deserve to be more than a myth.