Written by: Ryan K
Originally posted: 8/30/2015
I've been in treatment for a while now, so you can imagine I've learned a thing or two about this pesky little nuisance. Months ago, a family member accused me of choosing to be like this because I am vain and selfish, and only care about how I look. Yup, that's definitely it. You fixed me!
Everyone is a doctor. They love to ask us why we don't just stop having an eating disorder. DUH! Why didn't I think of that? So simple! So I just eat? And stop using behaviors? Snap out of it? Cut the shit? Just get my life together? So I don't actually have a real disease ... Just a 12-year case of Dontgotmyshittogheritis.
Yeah, tell that to the 70 million people worldwide (both men and women) who suffer from eating disorders. And that's not including the many people who are too ashamed by the stigma to seek help. Wanna know what else?Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Having an eating disorder is not a choice. This is a life-threatening mental illness with physical ramifications. Wanting to go on a diet is one thing, but being at battle every single day to stop behaviors that will ultimately kill you is not a choice.
A lot of the women I met in residential care came straight from the ER to residential, myself included. I had done so much damage to my body that my blood pressure and heart rate were dangerously low**. The doctors told me I was dying. A few years ago after brain surgery when I had about six different IV needles up and down my hands and arms, I would still drag the pole to the bathroom and use behaviors, causing both of my arms to turn solid purple. A friend I met who is a nurse told me I am lucky to be alive, after putting that much pressure on my body immediately after BRAIN FREAKING SURGERY. Nobody wants to live like this. Nobody wants to be sick with an eating disorder, just like nobody wants to be sick with diabetes. Why do we need to shame the people who struggle with this illness, making it that much harder to go into treatment. The more we are aware of what eating disorders are all about, the more we can work together to help those who suffer, because it's not a choice.
I know this isn't one of my funnier posts, but I needed to let it out. I'll leave you with some helpful links and also my beautiful roommate's "coming out" facebook post. Let's crush the stigma and save some lives!
7 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Who's Had an Eating Disorder (ABC News)
12 Things People Don't Understand About Eating Disorders (BuzzFeed lol)
August 7 at 7:46pm
So I rarely post on Facebook, but i’ve made an exception because I feel this is really important to share. Not only for people to know what’s been going on with me, but mostly to just get everything out in the open and off my chest. I’ve been living with secrets for my entire life, and I'm ready to be free of them. So, here we go… for those of you who don’t already know, I’ve been struggling with an eating disorder for the past 6 years of my life. After struggling for that long, my body finally gave up. And I was finally ready to accept the help that was long overdue. I’ve spent the past 2 and a half months in residential treatment**, and have just stepped down to their partial hospitalization program and am living in their transitional living house. I'm very lucky that I got help when I did, because many people with eating disorders go without any treatment. There are many reasons why eating disorders are kept secret, one of those main reasons being the stigma surrounding them. Unfortunately, most people just do not understand eating disorders. We do not choose to have this illness, it is not a phase, it's not really about losing weight at all, we do not do this in vain, and we do not do it to hurt people. It's an illness almost identical to an addiction. Most importantly, this illness does not discriminate. It happens to people of all ages, genders, races, classes, backgrounds, and sizes. Having struggled with both anorexia and bulimia and being many different sizes due to that.. there is certainly no discrimination in that aspect. It is impossible to tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them. The disease is real for millions of people. It takes over your mind and controls your every thought and every action. If I could control this illness and "just eat" I would have done that a very long time ago. It is painful to see the hurt I bring to my family's eyes while they watch me struggle, and I would do anything to be able to snap my fingers and recover. The journey to recovery is a very long and windy path, with a lot of hills (more like mountains) along the way... but I am trekking along. And I will get to the destination eventually. I know this is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. There will always be the eating disorder voice in the back of my head trying to control me, but I am learning how to fight it. This has been hands down the hardest thing I've ever done, but I am so grateful to have met the most amazing friends (more like family) along this journey. I seriously would not have been able to do this without you guys. So go ahead and judge, make assumptions, or whatever you want after reading this post. But I'm done putting on a front for people... it's time to be true to myself and accept myself for who I am and what I struggle with. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237!
Original post can be found at www.ryandoesresi.com.