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Monday, May 19, 2014

Quiet Sufferers: Unraveling the Stereotypes of Eating Disorders

This was the first time I had ever admitted the elephant in my mind to anyone before. I was adamant about my philosophy of dishing such the insight: I didn’t think it was something to hide, but I didn’t feel the need to tell the world in a craving for attention. In this case, my friend next to me had been body bashing—a rather common occurrence among girls my age, and females, period. In an effort to mend her sabotage, I slashed out all the information that my therapist had fed me over the past year; it’s only sad that I wasn’t able to lift my own disposition with the fuel. 

“I have an eating disorder,” I quietly whispered to her.

“Really?” she replied. “I would have never guessed that. I mean, people with eating disorders are normally really skinny, and you look so normal.” 

I was lucky I was in the place I was when this conversation happened, because, if she had described me as “normal” a few months before, I wouldn’t have reacted with the same stoic attitude that I did. Telling me that I looked “normal,” made me feel like a failure. To me, “really skinny” was the ideal. And I didn’t fit the match.

But, it made me think: she’s right. Most people probably have no idea that I have an eating disorder. I’m always described as the happy one, and the one that can’t stop smiling or laughing. In reality, the reason for outsiders’ unintentional oblivion in relation to my pending brain game is because people don’t really know much about eating disorders.

Eating disorders are presented as polar brandings, either you’re anorexic, or bulimic. But there’s so much more than that. My brother even told me himself that there’s no way that I have an eating disorder, because “only fat people have them.” Well, I guess it’s good that I’m not fat like I think I am. 

That being said, the turning point in my treatment was when my therapist actually addressed the misconception I had about myself, that I had an eating disorder; even I was oblivious to my own branding. In reality, I did have this illness, and although I didn’t qualify on either polar of the spectrum, I laid somewhere in between. And so do many other sufferers. 

Eating disorders are a touchy subject, but learning about them is key to helping those who suffer. Your friend who sometimes rushes to the bathroom right after eating could have an eating disorder. And so could the unaccommodating vegan who doesn’t eat anything outside the title, even if it means skipping meals.

Like sports, pens, or plants, there are asall types of eating disorders, some more ugly than others, and some more efficient than others. But, it’s still an eating disorder, and the people who may seem stable, may be quietly suffering on the inside.

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22 comments :

  1. This is such a brave post, Lillian. Very well written and the quote is spot on. I'm so glad all is well now xx

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  2. Your so brave for admitting that Lillian! Great post xx


    BerrieBlogs| {beauty blog}

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  3. I admire your courage in opening up. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and insisting that a certain type of person "can't" have an eating disorder only harms the person suffering. May we always have open hearts and minds for each other!

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  4. Such a sensitively, well written post and also very informative. Wishing you well in future. :)


    danielletc.com

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  5. It seems that eating disorders are becoming more and more common, thanks to the media and all those crazy diet trends and whatnot. It takes a lot to admit that you have an eating disorder, Lillian, but I'm glad that you are aware that you have one and that you're managing it.

    As someone who is naturally thin, I get a lot of hate and assumptions that I have an eating disorder. Telling someone that they are "disgustingly thin" is just as hurtful as telling someone that they are overweight. Over time, I have learned that as long as I am eating healthy and being happy, it doesn't matter what people think or say. My closer friends all know that I am perfectly healthy and that's good enough.

    Be healthy and happy! xx

    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

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  6. I just want to hug you after reading this because I know this feeling too well and have felt it since I realised I had one when I was 15. It's always going to be such a touchy subject and not many people at all know about myself, even five years later.


    Always here lovely x

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  7. A friend of mine was anorexic for a year or two and everyone knew but was too afraid to say anything (myself included). I'm still unsure if it was my place to ever confront her (probably not), but I do think it's important to a) be careful of what you say about body image around other people, especially if you suspect something and b) just love them through it. I think you're very brave for bringing this subject up on your blog for all to see and only hope you receive love and encouragement. I think you'll find that if you ever need to talk, your readers will always be there for you :)
    Huge hug from Canada, xx -b.

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  8. I too have been the target of these kind of accusations, even from my own family. It is hurtful and not helpful in any way whatsoever! I've come to see that as long as I know I'm taking care of myself that these people can just go screw themselves haha. A lot of the time it's really not about me anyway, but their own insecurities.

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  9. Elizabeth ParrishMay 19, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    I will love you always Lili! You are one of the strongest and bravest girls I know and are able to perfectly capture this delicate topic will class and respect, Love you always.
    xx
    Lizzie

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  10. charlotte rollinMay 20, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    I'm also suffering from an eating disorder and found this post so lovely to read. Stay strong and keep fighting pretty x

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  11. Thanks, Weng. x

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  12. Thanks, Aerin. x

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  13. You're spot on. And may your last words be sprinkled around the world. (: x

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  14. Thank you, Danielle. x

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  15. The media, unfortunately, does play a really big part when it comes to eating disorders. And I certainly agree: telling someone they're super thin is really mean and obnoxious. I honestly think it's because society thanks thin is good, even if it's unhealthy like eating disorders. And the fact of the matter is, that those who are forcing their body to look that way are only fueled by such comments and people who have it naturally are criticized because everyone else is insecure. At the end of the day, though, don't worry about what anyone else thinks. x

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  16. Haha! Oh, Brittany--you speak the truth. x

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  17. Luce, I'm sending good wishes to you. Thank you. x

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  18. Kiss, kiss, kiss. I love you so much, Liz. x

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  19. You too, Charlotte. x

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  20. At the end of the day, although it wouldn't have hurt if you addressed her, her family should have said something. People who have eating disorders are really combative when people address them on the subject and it's really hard for any normal person to deal with--i.e. anyone by a physc.


    I really appreciate such kind words, more than you can imagine. Thank you, Brittany. And I'm sending a hug your way, too. (: x

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  21. This is beautiful and I think you're strong, beautiful and brave and I'm sending you lots of love from across the pond <3

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  22. Thank you, Jen--not just for this lovely comment (I'm blushing) but for always being there; even though we don't talk all the time, you still inspire me to be stronger (especially in how strong you have been). Big hugs. x

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