I found the above quote on Pinterest and thought it would be a good start to todays post. Today is the last day of Eating Disorders awareness week and of course I wanted to feature it on my blog. I’ve never had an eating disorder, although for a while I had an issue with my body image. That said I have watched friends struggle through eating disorders and it’s a very slippery slope.
A lot of people have the misconception that ED’s are about food and being vain and feeling fat. Wrong. Bulimia and Anorexia, for example, are mental illnesses, they’re not to do with not fitting into a certain dress or wanting to look like a celebrity. They are illnesses which unfortunately people can die from. It’s important to know but not what I want to put forward in this blog.
I want to talk to you all about being supportive. The best thing you can do for someone with any kind of mental health condition is to support them, to do your best to understand. Some of the following things are good to know
Eating Disorders don’t just go away in a week, they are not a cold. Recovery can take years and for some people they need a little bit of support for the rest of their lives. It can be frustrating and so hard to watch when a loved one goes through this but your patience can mean everything.
Don’t talk, listen. Listen to what they want and need to say. Even if they are scared and you can’t understand why. Even if what they’re saying is hard to hear just listen and ,when you can, respect their wishes.
Know when they just need you there
Sometimes it’s not about having a big conversation, it’s just about having someone there and knowing they’re there.
Try and do some research
You don’t need to get a PhD in Psychology but just doing a little research on ways to help for example or knowing what the illness is. Some people find it helpful to learn with the person who is living with the illness. It can make things easier to understand.
Work with them through things
Having support through it all is one of the most important things. Celebrate their achievements and be there if they have bad days and work through it together. You never know how much it can mean to someone.
I wanted to make it clear that this is something that people recover from! It takes hard work but it is possible to recover with the right help and be happy and healthy, as with any mental illness. If anyone is struggling with an Eating Disorder at the moment then I will leave details at the end of this post. Don’t be embarrassed, or ashamed, you can get through this. Talk to someone you feel you can, go along to a doctors appointment (you don’t have to see your own GP!) and please, please don’t give up.
Beat – UK
National Eating Disorder Association
SEED – Eating Disorder Support Service