Unfortunate Ignorance Behind Eating Disorders

Author: Alex K.

Unfortunate ignorance behind EDSo much but so little: I find it ironic how this world is no stranger to the words anorexia and bulimia, with the millions of people suffering everyday, and yet this world and the majority of it is a stranger to the actual meaning behind [these] words. These words aren’t just [things] that were made up to throw into movies and conversations to exaggerate someone who [was] thin or skipping out on the occasional burger.

These words and the bigger picture surrounding them are what causes a person to deal with a feeling of addiction and an uncontrollably, strong desire for control. [These words] destroy friendships, families, and the lives of millions. The ignorance behind the poison brought upon by eating disorders is now something that I will be able to pick up on like a sixth sense after having gone through an experience with hospitalization and treatment in an eating disorders inpatient center. Each and every encounter I hear [about] or face myself allows me to realize that people need to be educated on what to do when they or [their] loved ones may be struggling with an eating disorder.

No one truly understands the power these mental illnesses can have on someone and how they can truly alter the way someone presents herself and manipulates those around her. Eating disorders are sneaky illnesses that come with a plethora of lies and unhealthy habits, harming the person dealing with the disorder. When someone asked me if I had an eating disorder after reading my instagram bio (which states “eating disorders awareness”) to get clarification because apparently, due to the shape I am currently in, I couldn’t possibly have had one, it was my last straw. I’m not one to take to heart and blow up about negative comments, but when I hear something that could be a trigger to others or that could potentially be the common idea seen or thought of by the general public, lacking experience or knowledge on the topic of eating disoders, it concerns me. Eating disorders do not come in a shape or size. They are a mental illness that take over a person’s brain and become stronger as the person’s body becomes weaker. This is not an exaggeration. They are an addiction, and a person cannot function in her everyday [life] without fulfilling the desire of her eating disorder. Even after recovery, an eating disoder is a chronic illness and will effect a person each day of her life. I can even say [that] there are days that I want to fall down the spiral of eating disorders again but, because of the treatment I was able to go through and soon hope will be available to EVERYONE who needs it, I know that it’s the eating disorder in the back of my mind – not the healthy girl I am today – itching for a chance to take over a life again. Eating disorders change a person’s life and follow them everyday, before, during, and after each meal.

I was lucky, blessed, to have a program in place to nourish me both mentally and physically back to life but because of the lack of knowledge in the world about this deadly disease, there was only one program near me that was worthy enough to help me get better. Hundreds of girls were turned away because they weren’t “sick” enough, and their insurances couldn’t cover [the treatment]. Sick enough? An eating disorder is very dangerous even when the person isn’t “sick” enough because it is just getting started and allows the person to latch on to it and help make it stronger. This is exactly why money needs to be raised to help open more centers, allow more research to be done regarding the causes, [and find the] best types of treatment for eating disorders. There shouldn’t be girls turned away because they [aren’t] sick enough. If [there was a] program available before [I was] close to death (which seemed to be the clinic’s and my insurance’s  definition behind “sick”enough), I would have never actually gotten to that point. Eating disorders would be caught and handled the correct way if people were educated on them and more open minded as apposed to [stuck] to their view on the media’s depiction as well as their prior exposure to the terms anorexia,bulimia,binging, and eating disorders not otherwise specified. Many girls I met throughout my program were there after multiple failed attempts of getting in and not being ill enough according to insurance and the evaluation done by the hospital.

Eating disorders are not something people do for attention and are most certainly not something people DESIRE to live with. More and more girls and boys are entering the downward spiral towards a life-threatening illness. But, with the help of others, money can be raised to save lives and the futures of those in need. The national eating disorders association [as well as the “Need to bEAT Campaign] are great places to donate money to in order to help raise for research and treatment. I will be working on creating an anonymous forum for any questions anyone may have and for any advice people would like to share! I hope this website will be a help to others as it comes among. You are all beautiful! Thanks for reading.

-Alex K.

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