This week is Eating Disorders awareness week, so I thought that I share with you some common misconceptions about eating disorders (ED)! For those of you who don’t know this is what an ED is:
EATING DISORDER (noun): any of a range of psychological disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.
Common EDs you may have heard of include Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder – there are many many different types though! Also, I’m not doing this to hurt anyone in any way, I simply just want to raise awareness of the struggles that can be faced.
Common Misconceptions Of Eating Disorders
‘if you’re really skinny you’re anorexic’
HAHA no, that’s not how it works… You can be thin and perfectly healthy. You can also be morbidly obese and still suffer from it. EDs do not discriminate.
‘but, you’re not skinny enough to be anorexic’
This links to the last one and you guessed it, you’re wrong again! For starters, EDs are MENTAL disorders which means that, by definition, they affect the brain and thus people’s behaviours and feelings. This misconception is a HUGE problem for many people because the NHS is struggling so much it can only afford to help those morbidly underweight when someone of a fairly average BMI could be just as sick and suffering just as much – BMI should not be as big a factor as it is when it comes to getting treatment. I have had – and still have this problem – because I am of perfectly normal weight.
‘only girls get eating disorders’
Nnononononnon, are people that ignorant? As I mentioned before, it is not discriminative so yes – that includes boys. Eating disorders are a fairly silent killer among boys sadly because so many people believe that only skinny white girls get them 🙁
‘grow up, just eat it’ (in reference to restrictive Eds)
Whoaaaaaaa, if only it was that easy! Many people wish they just could, they’d love to! EDs can come with an overWHELMING amount of disgust and guilt when the person has chosen to eat. It’s like having a little bully living inside your brain. Not pleasant.
‘just go on a diet or something…’ (in reference to binge ED)
Hmm no? I don’t have experience of this condition but I feel like it’s like an addiction – you physically cannot stop. A bit like smoking or drinking…
‘eww you make yourself sick – that’s gross!’
Ok, yeah – I get where you’re coming from. But, particularly in Bulimia, forcing yourself to be sick is the way of getting over the crushing guilt of having eaten. Comments like these can be super damaging and stop people getting the help they really need.
I hope this has increased your awareness and understanding of EDs and associated conditions! If you want to help, you can always raise money for BEAT which is an excellent charity. They have a brilliant helpline and various mediums of support available for those who need it. They also offer advice to people who have someone close to them with an ED.
Remember to #SockItToEatingDisorders this week!
Thanks for reading