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

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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.

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Thinkstock photo via monique28.

Originally published: March 16, 2017
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