Why Telling Me 'People Are Going Hungry' Doesn't Help Me Face My Eating Disorder


We all have problems and they’re all different. For some living in poverty or in developing areas, food may be hard to attain, resulting in mass groups of people going hungry across the globe.

Some of us have eating disorders. Eating disorders aren’t wealthy, privileged disorders that stem from vanity only. Eating disorders aren’t all about appearances. You shouldn’t compare one diagnosis to another because health conditions are different and hard things to deal with in their own right.

Yes, I am grateful to live in America, but it doesn’t mean my eating disorder isn’t a serious and deadly disease. My eating disorder is not me “being selfish.”

Comparison is one of the most common symptoms of eating disorders and your remarks about how “children are starving in other countries,” don’t help. If we all compared everything to anything, there would only be one winner and many people who need help mentally, physically, economically, etc. would lose out.

We live in a world where something worse is always happening to someone else. While sometimes it can help me when I’m trying to get through hard times, other times it makes me feel like my struggle isn’t valid. Eating disorders hold as one of the highest mortality rates of all psychiatric illnesses, yet when people look at this fact, they see the word “psychiatric” and the meaning diminishes. It shouldn’t.

Just because someone else’s problems don’t seem significant or “bad enough” for you does not mean that the person and their loved ones don’t feel it. For National Eating Disorder Awareness week, do research and know this is a real illness.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via monique28.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Eating Disorders

Teenage girl looking down

When I'm in the Darkest Moments of My Eating Disorder Recovery

I have long known that eating disorder recovery would not be linear, but lately things have been looking pretty low in my recovery. When I’m in a place like this, it’s hard for me to admit to myself — let alone to my family and friends — that I am struggling. It is sometimes hard [...]
young couple sitting on car in front of dramatic landscape,illustration painting

10 Things You Should Know About Supporting Someone With an Eating Disorder and Type 1 Diabetes

Knowing how to talk to someone struggling with a serious mental illness like an eating disorder or chronic illness like type 1 diabetes can sometimes seem like a minefield for family and friends. Both conditions are regarded as invisible illnesses and are often misunderstood. Innocent comments can quite easily be taken the wrong way entirely. [...]
Young blonde woman sitting next to window

When I Finally Realized ED No Longer Had Control of My Life

I have struggled with perfectionism and allowing myself to be vulnerable for some time now, which eventually led to a full blown eating disorder (among many other issues that seemed to arise, but that’s neither here nor there). In the wise words of Brene Brown, who from her self-help books has taught me to “dig [...]
Back view of two girls hugging each other

13 Ways to Help a Friend With an Eating Disorder

An eating disorder is a serious condition that often requires professional help, but always requires care and understanding from those who love the person with the eating disorder. It can be a difficult situation to navigate, but there are many things you can do to help yourself speak supportively to a person with an eating [...]