Eating Disorders Are Mental Illnesses – Nothing More, Nothing Less

Author: Zoë F.

No matter what is going on, [Eating Disorders] can be beaten because we are all stronger than [them]. So, stay strong and safe because you’re worth it – I promise.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.28.15 PMThere are some things in this world that no one can truly understand until they come face to face with [those things] in their own lives.  Eating disorders fall under that category.  Eating disorders can affect anyone.  They don’t discriminate based on gender, age, race, body type, or anything else.  Each [disorder] is different, and they all affect people differently. 

In my experience of being in different treatment programs and meeting many other people who shared my struggle, there was not a single case that was the same.  They arise from different situations and stay for different reasons. But the one thing that they do have in common is that they can all be overcome.  Every single eating disorder can be beaten.  They are not stronger than the person who got affected by [them].  They are not smarter than the healthy part of the brain that wants recovery.  They are just there – unwelcome in the minds of so many people in this world. 

Very few of those impacted by such disorders have the ability or resources to get help [in order] to change their lives so they can start living freely again. In too many places, eating disorders are overlooked and misunderstood.  We need to change that.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and people still don’t seem to recognize the harm [these disorders] can do.  Mine had left me near death and only then did people start to realize that I needed serious help.  They are not things that can just be overlooked and expected to go away on their own. 

That being said, the need to bring attention to eating disorders is urgent and help must be more readily available to a wider range of people.  Many treatment centers will not accept people who are not “sick enough”. Someone can be underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight and still have an eating disorder. There are many people who are affected by the physical symptoms, but that doesn’t make them any more eligible to receive treatment.  Everyone suffering needs help because we ALL deserve the chance to get better.  Spreading awareness will hopefully create more opportunities for those [who are] silently suffering or being denied the help they need.  Eating disorders are mental illnesses for a reason and that reason needs to be shared.

-Zoë F.

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