The moment the eating disorder starts dragging us down the dark labyrinth of thoughts with its giant claws that seem to be so inescapable it becomes harder and harder for us to acknowledge any desires…
Especially towards friends and family members that the eating disorder made us push away in the first place, communicating our wishes and desires equals admitting our vulnerability. That alone wouldn't be any problem at all if it weren't for the eating disorder‘s loud voice.
Deep inside we crave the warmth and the comfort given by a hug full of love or the kind words that tell us we are able to conquer the world. On the other hand the fear of rejection and pain seems as a price too high to pay, for our deluded minds. Little do we know how glad our loved ones would be if we expressed our emotions. So be there for us.
Eating disorders are tricky. They constantly demand an increasing isolation. We create more and more patterns which later develop into a whole construct of lies which makes it easier for us to let everybody believe the world is alright.
As a consequence lying becomes our daily business. Especially concerning eating out, going shopping or all the activities that require socialising and the confrontation with food.
It sounds fun to do all those things but they are a nightmare to a mind that is affected by an eating disorder because it forces us to leave our comfort zone. The tiny area that gives us the feeling of security and control.
So please give us time. Stop pushing us or trying to talk sense into us because our distorted brain would feel attacked and would just react with further isolation. It is a better alternative to ask us what we are afraid of so we get the possibility to reflect our behaviour.
We are imprisoned by our own thoughts. Even if we are at a good place in our recovery every word that is said can completely mess with our progress.
So please: if you see us eating don’t comment on it. Even if you just tell us that you are happy about seeing us eating or you stare a few seconds too long at the food. It triggers a chain reaction.
- We think about the fact we are eating.
- Our minds tell us that eating is normal.
- Normal equals eating way too much, thus it’s bad.
- The consequence is the urge to stop eating and falling into old habits of making up for eating.
A vicious circle. Because the demons inside us know perfectly well how to twist every word.
I know you are happy to see that we gained weight but telling us that we look healthy can lead to a major step backwards in our recovery because healthy is often understood as an equivalent for fat and normal.
On the contrary you are sad and afraid of seeing us having lost weight but telling us so is our confirmation and the best incentive to keep going with our program.
Nowadays diets can be found in every magazine in every office and in most of people’s heads. They might work for some people but they are toxic for our recovery, so please never tell us, a coworker or a friend about your new diet if you know he or she is going through challenges with food or an eating disorder.
We have the urge to constantly compare ourselves to everyone. A diet causes the feeling that we aren’t able to keep up to others, thus makes us feel guilty and bad.
I know some of these points may seem ridiculous and stupid, but that is the problem and maybe my most important request:
To really be in the position to help us you have to understand that you are not able to understand us completely, because the eating disorder’s deluded mind doesn’t follow any rules.
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My name is Mona Abahri. I‘m a 20 year-old girl from Germany. I myself suffered from anorexia since the age of 13 and even if I consider myself mostly recovered today I think the battle against an eating disorder or a mental health issue in general is never fought 100%. But through writing about it I found my way to cope with it and I‘m happy to be able to help others. Even if it’s only one person who paid attention to my words.