13 Sep “The Reality of An ED” — By Kate
When I first was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, I was in disbelief; not because I was in denial, but because I didn’t think I had a valid problem. I was “clinically emaciated”, yet I still didn’t look like the anorectics that you see in documentaries, in the newspaper, or on the internet. I also had never been hospitalized at that point, nor had I had a feeding tube. What kind of anorectic has never been hospitalized or been tube fed? According to me at that time, not a very sick one. I honestly didn’t believe that I was a legitimate anorectic, and therefore I didn’t think I deserved help.
The fact of the matter is that I was a very sick individual, in body, mind, and spirit. I was under the belief that I could never be considered a “proper” anorectic because my body and behaviors didn’t conform to what I deemed to be normal for anorectics. The vision in my mind of what anorexia meant was starkly different than what was the reality. I believed that I would never be a good enough, sick enough, valid, or legitimate anorectic. And part of that is true. You will never be the best at being sick, but that doesn’t make your problem not real.
There needs to be more awareness surrounding the idea that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, quite literally and also figuratively. You don’t need to weigh __ pounds to have an eating disorder. You don’t need to eat __ calories a day to have an eating disorder, either. You can be at a healthy weight and have an eating disorder; in fact, most sufferers of eating disorders are at a healthy weight or are even overweight, excluding those with anorexia nervosa. And as far as your experiences go, the same rules apply.
Be more accepting of yourself, but don’t be afraid of change. Through my own recovery, I’ve found that the most important aspect of getting better is finding the balance between acceptance and change. Accept yourself for who you are, but be willing to change your behaviors to accommodate the best version of you that you can be. With acceptance comes the realization that your eating disorder is real, and that it is a valid illness no matter how much you weigh, no matter how much you eat, no matter if you’ve been hospitalized or had a feeding tube, no matter what.