Monday, 23 February 2015

EDAW 2015

So, in case you didn't know, this week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and usually I write a masterpiece ramble on about how it's important to educate others, and this year is no different. Well, actually it is. Because this year, I'm 99.99999% recovered. I think I'll always be vulnerable to diet talk, noticing calories, food in general.. but that's all I intend to be - vulnerable, not ill. 

Personal experience aside, here's a few things I wish people knew about eating disorders, individuals with eating disorders, and how to treat/approach an individual with an eating disorder. Maybe you'll learn something new :)


Eating disorder sufferers aren't crazy. Well, some of us are.. No, seriously, we aren't. In fact, hardly anyone knew I was ill because I never missed a day of college, work, a deadline.. I lived a 'normal' life. Eating disorders are not something we choose.. they are a result of the environmental influences, genetics, culture, life experiences probably an interaction, no one really knows! I didn't engage in dangerous behaviours for fun, I was consumed by an illness. Just like someone with a broken leg is ill, and my guess is that you wouldn't think they were crazy..

Anorexia and Bulimia aren't the only eating disorders. In fact, most eating disorders are classified as Eating Disorders Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). That includes Othorexia (obsession with only healthy/pure/clean foods), Binge Eating Disorder and sub-clinical cases of Anorexia and Bulimia


You don't have to be skeletal to suffer. This is one myth that I really dislike as it causes many people to lose more and more weight in order to fit a certain diagnosis and/or become 'ill' enough to be taken seriously. Most bulimia sufferers have a healthy or overweight BMI because their compensatory behaviour doesn't actually 'get rid' of everything they have eaten. And what happens when an Anorexia sufferer regains some weight? They don't magically become well again overnight.. they still have to battle Anorexia because the body heals much faster than the brain. They are just at a healthier weight.

Don't comment on their appearance/weight when they regain weight. I know, it's hard, because ultimately you mean well and are actually complimenting them. However, until they are well enough, 'you look good/healthy/well/glowing/better' simply translates as 'you look fat.' If you want to compliment someone, tell them they have a bigger smile, shinier hair etc..

Don't isolate, ignore or give up on someone. Eating disorder sufferers will push you away, they will isolate themselves, turn down invitations, avoid social situations. Sooner or later, people will stop including them (and you cannot be blamed really). However, please please please don't give up on someone. They want you to give up to prove themselves right - that no one cares and they are better off alone. Actually, all they really want is love. Most social occasions are centred around food (coffee dates, lunch dates, cinema, evening drinks..) which is why many sufferers decline invitations, so try and invite them to other activities such as watching a film/TV or playing a game. Trust me, it'll be appreciated.

You cannot save someone who doesn't want to be saved. Perhaps the hardest one of all really, is you cannot help someone if they don't want to get better. We may not choose to be come ill, be we do choose to recover. It's the hardest thing someone will ever do, and it's extremely difficult to do alone, however you cannot do it for someone. At the end of the day, they have to fight their own battles, learn and rediscover life again. The best thing you can do, is simply be there.
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22 comments

Josie's Journal said...

Brilliant post Sam, really informative. The last one is hard, when you want to help someone you love when they aren't ready it's really upsetting. But you're right, you just gotta be there through it all x

Josie’s Journal

Sam said...

Thank you so much Josie! It's definitely the hardest thing people have to come to terms with xx

Naomi said...

Love this post. I kind of suffered from an eating disorder when I was 16, it wasn't severe, which I'm grateful for, but it definitely was a struggle. I did my last project in high school about the same subject and learned a ton. So most things you've mentioned sounded very familiar. But the last one is so on point. As hard as it is to let get of something or someone, you indeed can't save anyone who doesn't want to be saved.

Lovely write up!

xo naomi - Naomi in Wonderland

Sam said...

I think the whole not thinking it's not severe enough, is a classic symptom in itself, so I can imagine you had a tough time! But I'm glad that you're better now? And thank you so much! xx

Jennifer K said...

Thanks for an informative post - I'd never heard of orthorexia before so I've learned something new there. Eating disorders are very misunderstood and misrepresented still, I think far more go unnoticed than anyone realises. I'm hoping to do a project this summer related to eating disorders services. Stay well :)
Jennifer x

Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

Sam said...

Thank you lovely! I'd love to hear about how that project goes :) x

Ellie Adams said...

So proud of you for writing such an incredibly well written, informative post. Simple tips that are so helpful for people who aren't sure how to deal with those suffering from an ED.


Amazing post!


Elle
xx

Sam said...

Thank you so much, it's so lovely of you! xx

Gemma Davison said...

What amoving and informative post, you are so brave discussing your history with us all. That's one of the reasons why I feel like I know you so well. I got tears in my eyes when I read the point about not giving up on people. All my friends gave up on me, when I became mentally ill, and though I have learned to forgive them and realise I'm better off without them, it still had a profound effect on my life.

Gems x

Sam said...

Thank you for your lovely comment, Gemma! I'm sorry to hear all of your friends gave up on you, it's so hard to cope alone. You always know where I am if you need someone xx

Jennifer Jayne said...

Amazing post. I have known people to suffer and this post would have helped me help them at the time.

Jenn from jenniferjayne.blogspot.co.uk

Sam said...

Thank you so much! x

TheStyleRawr said...

I agree with Gemma, this is such an informative post! I'd never even thought about there being multiple eating disorders so this is a big eye opener. I'm also going to stick to healthy hair compliments! ;)

Tara x

Sam said...

It makes me so pleased to hear that I've opened your eyes! My job is done ;) xx

helen at thelovecatsinc said...

loved this post! eating disorders need to be discussed an understood more i think

from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

Sam said...

Yes, you're 100% right! xx

Hayley-Eszti Szucs said...

This is such a good post about such an important topic. Eating disorders are not as straight forward as people may think. Thank you for helping open people's eyes about such an important issue which needs to be raised x

Sam said...

Thank you Hayley! x

Diana Cloudlet said...

I’m in love with your blog! Interesting posts, beautiful photos & design! It’s really amazing!
I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)

Diana Cloudlet

http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

Sam said...

Thank you, that's very kind of you xx

Hannah said...

This is a really amazing post Sam, thank you for highlighting some of the important and less well-known issues around eating disorders! I love how honest you are about things :)


Hannah xx


http://www.pull-yourself-together.blogspot.co.uk

Sam said...

Thank you Hannah! xx

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