Oh, you have an eating disorder? I think I do, too! Wait, you have binge eating disorder? Why don’t you just eat less? These kinds of comments and questions are not uncommon for people with eating disorders to constantly hear from family members and friends that lack the insight and knowledge about eating disorders. Although it may not be intentional it is frustrating and can be detrimental to the recovery process. These comments make individuals with an eating disorder feel like they don’t have a “real” problem and that they should be able to stop the behaviors on their own.
Receiving support from family, friends, and outside community groups is crucial in the recovery process. But getting support from community support groups can really make a difference too, especially as this is where others struggling with “ED-thoughts” can really bond and feel understood. Sadly, it’s difficult to do when you have an eating disorder as there are not a lot of options for support out there. Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA), ANAD, and other groups are out there though, and their numbers are growing.
For more information and for a list of meetings available in your area check out the website:
Unfortunately, until more people gain a stronger awareness, eating disorders may continue to be minimized by those that lack understanding. This is why we must work together to educate others, start new meetings, and speak the truth about what it’s like to have an eating disorder.
To learn more about supporting a loved one with an eating disorder TBITC recommends the book Surviving an Eating Disorder: strategies for family and friends.