Because I got so much amazing feedback from my last post, What I Wish You Understood About My Eating Disorder, I decided I'd keep going because I have much more to say. I was blown away by the support I was given both on the blog comments and on Instagram. I know that sometimes it's impossible to put it into words - trust me, I struggle with it too. Trying to explain an eating disorder to someone who hasn't experienced it is like nails on a chalkboard. Brutal. The comment that stood out the most to me was from Jillian (@poprocksandjill)
- "Thank you for putting into words everything I find difficult to verbalize"
So, let's continue ...
8. I don't want to hear about your diet.
Seriously. The last thing I want to hear about is what you're doing to try to lose weight or what diet trend you're on. All it does is trigger me, and question my recovery. I don't care if you cut out bread. I don't care if you do fasted cardio to lose weight. I don't want to hear it because what I experienced was far worse than that and I've learned and know better now. I'm not going to lecture you about it either. But please, STFU about your diet.
9. When I got my period back, I was disappointed.
That's so hard to say, but it's the truth. A part of me felt unhappy when I got my period back after having lost it for over a year. The eating disorder voice in my head didn't want to be healthy and normal again. Isn't that absurd? But that's the reality of how the eating disorder mentality is.
10. It's not that I don't like you, it's just that I don't have a sex drive.
Women with eating disorders have a decreased sex drive. Bye libido. Low body weight and food restriction has an effect on sex hormones. Why? Because fat is what produces estrogen. As estrogen goes down, so does testosterone - which is responsible for the reduced sex drive. The desire for intimacy plummets - not only physical intimacy, but any intimacy at all.
Read more about this not-so sexy topic HERE.
11. Eating with friends and family is the most horrifying experience.
The most anxiety I experienced during my ED was going out to eat with friends and family. Why? Because at restaurants you don't have 100% control of what is served to you. I over-analyzed everything. Did I eat too much today? Should I eat this food? Is there too much dressing on it? What if I eat more than my friends eat? What if I don't finish my plate and they judge me and think I just want to lose weight? The entire time I'm not focusing on spending time with my loved ones, instead I'm consumed by thoughts about what I'm eating and if it's good or bad.
12. Simple things are really hard.
A random invite to hangout, a date, spontaneously going out to get something to eat. I can't. It's just so hard to give up that control. It causes anxiety, stress, feelings of being extremely overwhelmed. And that leads me into the next point ...
13. Eating disorders affect every single part of your life
ED's don't just affect eating. It affects every single waking moment of your life. It affects my relationships, my views on the world, how I think about myself, how I think about others, my work, my motivation. It is with my everywhere I go. It travels with me on vacations, on road-trips, while I'm driving, while I'm thinking before I go to sleep, while I'm talking to others. It's ALWAYS FUCKING THERE.
14. Just because I didn't end up in the hospital doesn't mean I didn't suffer
Someone commented on one of my past posts and told me that I wasn't a "real" person with an eating disorder. I don't care what you want to label it, but what I went through was NOT fucking healthy and it still haunts me every single day. I'm not going to apologize because I didn't end up being hospitalized. I will however, be thankful for what I did go through and that I'm able to fight stronger every single day and help people do the same.
15. Recovery is real, but the thoughts will stick with you forever.
I believe you can fully recover mentally and physically from an eating disorder, however the thoughts will still linger. Maybe not every day, but they are still present. You just learn how to deal with them better. For me, when I get a triggering thought, I think of it like a conveyor belt. Think of your thoughts just passing through your brain. Acknowledge it. And then let is pass. Thoughts are just thoughts. They are not always reality. When I have a triggering thought I think, "thanks for your opinion, but you're wrong. Goodbye." And let is pass. Learning to deal with your thoughts is a HUGE part of recovery.