I’m standing on the starting line and I’m not thinking about the race I’m about to run. I’m not thinking about how tired I am or how weak I feel. I’m thinking about the size of the legs of the girls on the line next to me. I’m thinking about how much bigger my legs are than theirs. I’m telling myself – I’m not sick enough.
I’m sitting at the dinner table with a friend, amidst the closest thing to a relapse I’d ever experienced. “With her, I could just tell. I could never really see it with you.” I feel the world closing in as I swell up. I can’t eat, I can’t think, I can’t speak. I was never sick enough.
It is unfortunately common for people to believe that they are not “sick enough” to seek treatment for their eating disorder. Eating disorders are often seen as “competitive illnesses.” That is, people may compare themselves to others who are also struggling and convince themselves that they are not “sick enough” to deserve help.
But, the truth is – for your eating disorder, there will never be “sick enough.”
The truth is – there is no hierarchy of suffering. No one person’s pain is more valid or worthy of help than anothers.
We deserve support even if we think we are not “skinny enough” to have an eating disorder. Even if we’ve never been hospitalized. Even if we “still eat.” Even if we don’t restrict our food. Even if we binge. Even if we don’t look like the image of a person with an eating disorder portrayed by the media. Even if we don’t have body image concerns. Even if someone else has invalidated our suffering. Even if we think that other people “have it worse than us.” Even if we or other people don’t seem to think we’re “sick enough.”
Getting help is hard. Especially when the raging eating disorder voice inside our heads is telling us that we don’t deserve it. But we do. You do.
Seeking support doesn’t have to mean deciding to seek professional treatment. It can mean reaching out to a friend after a tough day. It can mean opening up and sharing about your experiences.
Recovery is the hardest thing I have ever done. And, it is also the most rewarding.
The truth is – recovery is possible for you, too. Reach out.
For more information about resources near you, visit https://map.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
By: Hannah Wolfe