I am a very complex individual. My mind does not take in things you say with a typical filter as most people. I am super observant, I notice everything you are eating, the portions, any whisper of food talk, everything. I am watching, not to judge you but to use your actions to judge myself. I don’t feel things too much, if I listed out what was going on in my life it would make sense to feel angry or sad about it, but I don’t. I don’t feel anything. My therapist said that right now it’s my job just to live and have others check in because I won’t notice how I am feeling unless people remind me that I am supposed to be feeling. That’s a weird responsibility but it’s weird to think that people have to remind me to feel.
I am lucky that I have a great amount of support through family and friends and I am told that if I need anything or if they can help in anyway, to let them know. I normally just smile and nod but here I am now, telling all of those who know me personally, or know someone with an eating disorder of things that we need. Ta da
I get that this is confusing. It doesn’t make any sense and we are just as lost as you are most of the time. We are told to keep going on meal at a time and when it comes to support, help us out one meal at a time. Understand that something easy yesterday can be hell today, realize that, yes, we do have to embrace fears sometimes but don’t make us feel bad when we don’t in front of you. This is such a hard process and just be patient. I can’t promise you that things will get better with me/the person you know with ED, but I can promise you that lack of patience will make things worse
Watch Your Mouth
Listen, I know what it’s like to be on a new diet, it’s what got me in trouble in the first place, and telling the world about eating a certain way can be fun but I can promise you that I never ever want to hear about your diet, about what foods you wouldn’t dare touch, about how you are ‘such a fatty’ when you get a ‘bad food’, how you think that I can still restrict, or I just can’t go ‘too far’. Before you say anything about food or your body around someone who you know has an eating disorder think to yourself “Would I want to my friend with an ED to think this about himself/herself?” if the answer is no. Just don’t say it. It’s not like people with anorexia are everywhere, I know you have one friend who doesn’t have an eating disorder so tell them about how fat you feel.
Basically, never ever say fat in any context around me. Ever. Don’t even say that I’m not fat, I don’t get cured that way.
Watch what youre doing
Please don’t grab your excess skin from your stomach and pinch it. And that’s a friend tip, that won’t do anything for you and it sure as hell isn’t doing anything great for me.
Let’s be Equal
I have to follow a meal plan and you probably don’t. That’s great. You can get away with skipping breakfast or having a small lunch and I am really jealous of you. If you are having a meal or snack with someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, you sure as hell better be eating something similar to me. If I’m eating 1-2 fats, 1 fruit, 1 veggie, 2-3 grains, and 2-3 portions at most of my meals and you shell out bare salad with some lite dressing, I will internalize that like it’s my job and want to slap you (but most likely just cry once I’m alone). Like I said earlier, you probably have a lot of friends without eating disorders rather than with eating disorders, so it’s like what one meal every once and awhile that you are asked to have similar (healthy) portions with you ED friend, really, it’s not that hard.
Don’t talk about my weight or how I looked before compared to now
Just don’t. I don’t translate it well and that’s not because Im a bitch or I don’t trust you, just no matter what is said about my body is hurtful so don’t say anything.
Treat me like a human being
When I was in my eating disorder, I was Anorexic. It was my identity and everything I was, now that I am in recovery, I am Sarah with Anorexia. I am more me than my disorder, I have it, I am aware of it but it no longer defines me because I fight each day to become more of who I am.
And that’s about it. If you have questions ask, we might not always give you an honest answer but we have to learn how to speak for ourselves. Ask, ask, ask, ask. Most of the times, we like answering questions because the world that an eating disorder takes you to makes no sense and we are begging for people to want to understand us. Communication is key and it is our responsibility just as much as it yours. We don’t underestimate how much you do for us and we are so thankful. The fact that you’re trying means the world and back.
Thank you for being there friends.