Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Am I Sick Enough?

An idea that's been surfacing recently in my work is, "I don't think I'm sick enough to have an eating disorder" or its cousin, "I didn't think I was sick enough to get help."

If you're wondering if you're sick enough to get help, the answer is yes. If you think that you're not, sick enough, it's a good idea to check this out with a professional. The answer might still be yes.

People will say to me, "I didn't think it was that bad because I was eating." Here's the thing: everyone with eating disorders eats. People who don't eat die.

Or they'll say, "I didn't think I was skinny enough to be sick." Let me be clear with this one - eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. The severity of the disorder is not determined by weight but by how damaged your body, mind, and spirit are as a result of your behavior and beliefs (which are influenced by diet culture, societal weight stigma, etc.)

If you restrict your food, often go hungry, and don't eat what you want, you're sick enough.

If you dislike your body and this causes you distress, you're sick enough.

If your perceived value is tied to your weight, you're sick enough.

If you think that you need to do something to compensate for what you eat, you're sick enough.

If you think about food much of the day (e.g., beyond meal planning or anticipating some restaurants or foods you like to try, you're sick enough.

If you stare at your body in the mirror in disgust, you're sick enough.

If you don't listen to your body and give it what it needs, you're sick enough.

If you use food to cope or numb or just to get through this difficult world, you're sick enough.

And if you compare yourself to another disordered eater and think, "I'm not sick enough," you're sick enough.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at