“If you have an eating disorder, just eat.”
An eating disorder is a mental illness with (often extreme) physical side effects.
It is not a choice. It is not slightly under eating or over eating. It is a loss of control. It takes away decision making abilities and logic.
Eating disorders are often kept quiet and hidden, making it harder for people to speak out and try to get help. It is especially hard for people who don’t “fit the stereotype” of an extremely thin teenage girl. It is harder for boys, people past their teenage years, and people that don’t look extremely thin to seek help and to get admitted. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people who are “not this enough” to get turned away. But weight should not be the only thing factored into admittance. What about organ function? Or irregular heartbeats? What about mental health?
Much of society does not understand how eating disorders work, it is especially apparent in social media…
These stigmas are problematic. They make people feel that their problems are irrelevant compared to those with physical illnesses. They also make people fear that they will be made fun of or not taken seriously. Stigmas make it harder to come forward and seek help. Even once people do go forward, if they don’t fit the stereotype it can be hard to get help. Some are told they are “not thin enough” and turned away; when they come back their internal organs, mental health, and overall physical health are much worse.
Luckily, many people do seek and receive help and begin a path to recovery. Recovery is a long process, often full of relapses; the stigmas in society often make recovery harder. We need to spread awareness to stop the stigmas that surround eating disorders so people will be more likely to get help and get healthy.