Let’s Settle This: How Do You Know If You’re Sick Enough For Treatment?

depicting sick enough; image of the back of figure laying in bed, with sheets pulled over, staring out a window

If you have suffered from an eating disorder at any point in your life, you have most likely come across the feeling of not being “sick enough”. This is a feeling that I unfortunately know all too well.

Growing up, I never had a healthy relationship with food. I was always either eating too much or not enough. In my little bubble, people liked to believe that mental illnesses didn’t exist and people were always happy. Knowing what I know now, I like to call what I grew up in, “false reality”.

My family and I avoided addressing serious issues in an attempt to be the “perfect family.”  We soon found out we were anything but perfect. At 13 I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. I immediately wanted to shove it away and hide it from everyone so I wouldn’t have to come to terms with it. I avoided it for so long that after a while, I forgot that “eating disorder” was even on my list of diagnoses.

Do I have a problem?

At age 16 I continued to struggle with not feeling sick enough. When society thinks “eating disorder”, they think- underweight, emaciated, refusing to eat anything. Basically, a live skeleton.

But I didn’t fit that mold.

I wasn’t underweight and I didn’t have a thigh gap. There weren’t bones sticking out of me. At the time, I wanted to make myself more sick. I thought I had to be smaller and skinnier to earn the help I so desperately needed.

Doing this only spiraled my behaviors more out of control. I was doing things that I didn’t understand and turning into someone that I didn’t recognize. I hated myself. Looking back, I realize it wasn’t me that I hated. It was the eating disorder.

The voice that made me think that I needed to see a certain number on the scale in order to get help wasn’t me, it was the disorder. It told me only underweight people struggle.

I hated living that way. I hated never being able to escape the prison of my own mind. Lost within a whirlwind of perfectionism, self hate, self doubt, and obsessive behaviors, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. When I finally realized I was headed down a dangerous path, I got the help I needed.

Eating disorders don’t discriminate

I went to treatment and was lucky enough to get the education that I was missing.

I learned that eating disorders do not discriminate and most of all, eating disorders don’t have a “look”.

 Eating disorders live in your mind. 

So hey, to all of you thinking that you need to fit a certain mold to be worthy of help, you don’t. You can do this and you will do this. I believe in you.

And you deserve help.

Image: @kalegin

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