Often when you tell someone that you have an eating disorder then they don’t know how to respond. And that’s after you have got over the mental hurdles of telling someone!
Society has made speaking about mental health difficulties a taboo for too long. I feel like this has only been reinforced by people showing their ‘insta-perfect’ life in recent years.
I believe that we need to speak more about eating disorders to open up a conversation, to increase awareness and understanding. (Obviously in a sensitive way, not showing lowest weights or graphic descriptions of ED behaviours).
Eating disorders are a coping mechanism and the person struggling deserves compassion and understandingDr Rachel Evans
With my 1-1 clients I find that understanding is the key to breaking the self-imposed and socially-imposed stigma and shame surrounding their thoughts and behaviours.
Once you understand that an eating disorder is a coping mechanism and it’s ok that you didn’t know how to cope at a certain time or with a certain situation…
Once you understand that it makes sense why you would want to be thinner and go to great lengths to try and lose weight in a society that praises thin bodies…
Once you understand that anyone who has been what you have been through (trauma with a big T or little t) with your personality traits would likely have developed eating difficulties or poor mental health…
then you can view your situation in a more neutral way and start to be more compassionate to yourself. You can look to the future with hope and take steps to move forwards. You can feel more confident in accessing support and sharing your story with others to help break the stigma for them too!
It doesn’t bother me at all now to speak about how I suffered with orthorexia, restrictive eating and bulimia, but it wasn’t always that way. I hid my struggles until it got so bad that I couldn’t function! I wonder how life would have been different if there was less or no stigma and I felt confident to ask for help sooner.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.