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

Image: @kalegin

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 so we would be known as the “perfect family.” Little did we know that we would soon find out that we were anything but. At 13 when 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 when it finally came time for me to acknowledge my illness.Through it all, I struggled with not feeling sick enough. When society thinks “eating disorder”, they think- underweight, emaciated, refusing to eat anything. Basically, a live skeleton.

I didn’t fit that mold. I wasn’t underweight and I didn’t have a thigh gap. There were’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 my 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 my 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.

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