Although we might feel comforted and even nurtured by our eating disorders, they are anything but. There was a time when I would have referred to Anorexia as my best, if not only, friend. It understood me in ways no one did, and it was it that I ran to in times of trouble. Eating disorders of all descriptions are experts in filling our heads with false beliefs, lies, and contradictions. Living with one on a daily basis is like being in the trenches of a battlefield, caught between two major nations; Logic and Disorder. Your healthy self argues with the disorder on a loop, but it’s often a losing battle no matter how hard you fight.
“It’s only when we start to consider recovery that we’re able to separate the two.”
Although I was aware of the different opinions inside my head, I wasn’t really able to identify the healthy me from the sick me for a long time. It was only when I started to take recovery seriously that it became easier to pinpoint who was who. It was then that I was able to pick up on the lies and deceit being fed to me. For the longest time, I thought that this was just the way my mind was, but in reality, the disorder had me wound up tightly in its grasp.
10 Common Lies The Eating Disorder Tells Us.
You’re nothing without me.
For a long time, I believed that without the eating disorder, I was no one. It was my best friend, my adviser, and my protector, all while it slowly aimed to kill me. Even during my good years, I still retreated back into behaviours in line with both anorexia and bulimia.
When your self-esteem is at rock bottom and you’re feeling isolated, the eating disorder can act as a comforter. I remember feeling like Anorexia Nervosa was the only thing I had left to get up for in the world. On the days when I found it hardest to wake up, the motive of another pound lost helped me push through. While I felt empowered and even excited at first, the longer it continued, the more out of control it became.
“But I was nothing if not anorexic, right?”
This was my daily affirmation. As long as you keep starving yourself, you’ll be okay. You might not be good at that but you’re good at this. While my eating disorder first appeared as my friend, it soon became my judge, jury, and even my executor.
It’s important to remember that you are enough, you aren’t defined by your eating disorder and you don’t need it to be enough.
No one will like you if you gain weight/recover.
People like you for you. They don’t care about how you look or what size your trousers are. And if they do, they aren’t your friends, boo.
Recovery is impossible, especially for you.
This is the lie that I’ve believed since day one. I would go as far as to prep therapists with ‘I want to recover to be functional, but I know 100% recovery isn’t possible. Not for me.’ Although I’m still not there, I’m certainly working on it.
I’ve woken up to the fact that not only is recovery possible, but it’s also possible for me. Food doesn’t have to forever be my enemy, and I’m ready to work towards making the change. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And it can happen to you.
You don’t deserve help.
This is bullshit and one of the biggest lies we’re told by our eating disorders. See “You’re not sick enough” (below) for a full and candid explanation as to why you DESERVE help at any weight, stage, or size.
I am the only thing you are good at.
You are good at so much more than starving and hurting yourself. You’re more than the binging or the purging. And you’re certainly better than living your life governed by food.
You have to earn your food & compensate after eating.
No, you don’t. Shush.
You will only be happy once you weigh XX kilos.
False! I can’t stress this enough. No weight will make you happy. Even if you reach your goal weight, there will be another goal to meet. Then another. And another. Nothing is ever enough.
You’re not sick enough!
I spent years under the assumption that I was sick enough because I wasn’t ‘thin.’ Then it was, I can’t be sick enough because I still eat. Finally, I’m not sick enough because I’ve not been hospitalized.
When you finally realize you’re sick enough for help, it’s too late. You’ve left your job, your relationship is breaking down, your life is governed by some numbers on a scale.
No matter what the disorder tries to tell you, you’re sick enough and you deserve help. You don’t have to have an inpatient history, nor do you need a history of any formal treatment. Your thighs can tough and you’re sick enough, you can look healthy and you’re sick enough. This is one of the most dangerous things about our current admission and treatment plans. Unless you’re severely underweight, you’re usually denied formal treatment. This not only prevents early intervention but gives off the impression that you only deserve help when you’re so sick that you might never recover. In reality, we should be trying to catch eating disorders as early as possible to increase the chances of full recovery.
Fat = Bad.
It’s a necessary component of our bodies. Fat is a lipid, fat is natural, fat keeps us warm and protected. Without fat your organs aren’t padded, it hurts to sit or lie, you’re freezing and lack basic energy.
*Obviously while fat is necessary, it’s important to get the right amounts and types of fat. I am not a nutritionist. Please be cautious about sites visited if researching fat or nutrition. A lot of these sites will lead to incorrect or even dangerous dieting information which may be triggering.
If you start to eat you’ll be unable to control yourself.
While this is a fear for many people with eating disorders, it’s a lie. While you might experience binging, this is simply because your body has spent so long in starvation mode. Even if you weren’t underweight, any sort of restriction can trigger a binge. It’s the reality of eating disorders. However, if you feed yourself correctly, it eventually becomes easier. You’re not starving, so you’re less likely to feel like you really need to eat.