Before I get into it, I want to be clear that I know and understand that someone who has never experienced an eating disorder or unhealthy relationship with food/exercise will never ultimately understand what it's like. These are my opinions and experiences and they are very personal to me. I am also brutally honest.
1. I fucking love food
Sorry for being so blunt, but this is the number one thing I can't stand. Tell me to go eat a cheeseburger one more time. Yes, that will fix my problem (insert sarcasm here).
Eating disorders are complex, multi-dimensional illnesses that are caused and triggered by a variety of factors. Not a strong dislike for cake, donuts, or a hatred for bread. Stop telling me what to eat or accusing me of not liking food.
2. I'm allowed to decline when you offer me food
People with eating disorders are trying to re-establish their relationship with food. When you offer me something to eat, and I say no, DO NOT be so arrogant to think that I don't want it because I want to be thin or I'm watching my weight. Maybe I'm not hungry.
2. Eating disorders are not a choice
Yes, I made the conscious decision to be obsessed with food, weight, and exercise. I made the choice to isolate myself from friends, family and life. I made the choice to destroy my body, my metabolism and my mind (again, insert sarcasm here).
Do not be so arrogant to think that someone MADE the decision to suffer from a mental illness. Eating disorders are caused by a variety of factors, which I WISH I could pinpoint. Yes, I have a family history of anxiety and depression, yes I was consumed and influenced by social media, yes I have a perfectionist personality. All of those things probably played a part in my eating disorder, but I DID NOT make the DECISION to suffer from this. I however, did make the choice to recover.
3. Sorry, but you can't look at someone and determine if they have an eating disorder or not
You can be 95lbs without an eating disorder.
You can be 160lbs with an eating disorder.
You can have muscles and still have an eating disorder.
You can be stick thin without an eating disorder.
Stop saying that someone LOOKS like they have an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a mental disorder. You can't judge it by appearance. And just because someone gains weight, doesn't mean they are recovered.
4. My eating disorder doesn't make me weak
My eating disorder actually makes me so damn strong. People with eating disorders suffer every single day. It's an ongoing battle in their mind that affects EVERY PART OF THEIR LIFE. But they keep fighting because they have no other choice. I am not weak. I am stronger than you can imagine because I'm constantly fighting. And I'm also constantly winning it.
5. My eating disorder doesn't make me vain
It's common to assume that people with eating disorders are obsessed with being "beautiful" and having the ideal body. I am sorry, but the fact that I am mentally struggling to have all control over my life, has nothing to do with how I look or how you think I want to look. Do you think it's fun fighting a mental battle every moment of your life? Think about that next time you call me vain for having a mental disorder.
6. Stop commenting on my appearance
Seriously. My eating disorder isn't about appearance. I don't want you to tell me I look good. I don't want you to tell me I should gain weight. I don't want you to call me skinny. Those comments just trigger me deeper into my disorder. Instead, maybe ask me how I am? How do I feel? Whether I lie to you and say I'm fine, or not, it will guide me to actually think about how I'm feeling and what I can do to fix it.
7. Just because I talk about it, doesn't mean I want attention or your sympathy
I could care less what you think of me. Your opinion doesn't matter. I don't want you to feel bad for me for who I am. But I vocalize my struggle because it's my therapy. I never once opened up to my family or friends while I was suffering. If I wanted the attention, then I would have. I kept it in. I found that my true therapy is talking and expressing myself to strangers. People who aren't quick to judge. People who I can help.