Do you feel alone in your eating disorder? Do you sometimes long for those close to you to understand what you’re going through? Is it difficult for you to describe to them what having an eating disorder is like? Does it seem like they could try harder to understand what you’re facing?
It’s only natural that we want others to understand what we’re experiencing whether it’s an eating disorder or something else. If they understand, they can support us and not judge us, and they can give us time to recover instead of being impatient. Who wouldn’t want that? But what can we do to help them see what having an eating disorder is really like? Here are some suggestions to try.
1. Provide information about eating disorders. Whether it’s through brochures, books or websites, pass on information to them that you feel clearly explains eating disorders. You could also invite them to attend a counseling session with you so your counselor can explain things to them.
2. There’s an article on the Recovery Helps page entitled, “Understanding Eating Disorders” that you can download and share with them. It gives a brief, to the heart, description of how someone can develop an eating disorder. From their viewpoint, they see the food-related behaviors, but may not realize how the underlying issues contribute to them.
3. Share your feelings with those loved ones you trust. If you have a difficult time putting your feelings into words or your loved one is uncomfortable hearing someone share their feelings face-to-face, find some free downloads on the Recovery Helps page. Look for the “When You Look At Me” messages and choose what puts your feelings into words to share with your loved ones.
4. Pray. Ask God to open their eyes and ears to realize what eating disorders are really like. Ask God to help you communicate your needs and feelings with those who can be trusted.
Even if those around you can’t truly relate to what you’re facing, they can certainly gain knowledge and understanding about eating disorders. As hard as it is, you may have to accept that it won’t click with some of them. Even so, make the most of what you have. Embrace the understanding of the professionals who may be helping you, members of your support group if you have one, and those you’ve met online. Also, remember the One who understands eating disorders more than anyone. If you have God at your side, you’re never truly alone.
By Laurie Glass