Anorexia Nervosa: Be Careful What You Say to Someone With an Eating Disorder by Dawn Taylor

Anorexia Nervosa: Be Careful What You Say to Someone With an Eating Disorder

I am an anorexia survivor. I am at a healthy weight now and have been for a few years, but I won't soon forget some of the insensitive things people said to me when I was dangerously thin.

  • "Eat a sandwich." This one from friends and strangers alike. You wouldn't say to someone morbidly obese, "Don't eat that sandwich."
  • "You look like you have cancer." This from a former boss. I appreciated his concern, but still it hurt me to hear him say that. I went on to tell him about eating disorders. An uncomfortable and unwelcome conversation at the time.
  • "What size do you wear?" Really?? And one friend always jokingly said, "She's size fetus."
  • "Why don't you just eat?" Another unwelcome conversation about eating disorders. Eating is literally the hardest activity we participate in. A root canal would have been more welcome to me as an anorexic.
  • "You're disappearing." Yes, that is the point, really. Disappearing. Physically and emotionally. It is easier than dealing with chaos.

People with anorexia and other eating disorders cannot help how they look. It is a disorder that has taken over their healthy mind. When friends and strangers comment on the appearance of someone with the disorder, it hurts. Though it seems you will help them by drawing negative attention to their bodies, you could actually be adding fuel to their mission to be thinner. 

Even though I am now healthy, I still battle the anorexia mindset and worry that someday someone will say something to trigger me. 

Be careful what you say. You never know how your words affect another.

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Why are people so insensitive? Sorry this happened to you. Thanks for sharing and glad you’re better!
Dawn Taylor
Partly because they can't begin to understand the disorder. Partly because they are insensitive human beings, but people need to be more careful. I feel great Tribe thank you :)
Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
Wow, I am always stunned by how thoughtless and careless people can be with their language and how they treat others. You never know what someone is going through, so to be this callous is so disappointing and downright dangerous. Thank you for sharing your experience, Dawn Taylor . As always, it comes from the heart and really hits home. Keep shining a light so people can better understand.
Dawn Taylor
People think when you are too thin that they can say whatever they want, and it is such a dangerous line when dealing with this disorder. I still struggle, and worry I will relapse, so it is better for people to say nothing, unless they express concern and open a conversation that is respectful and appropriate, and not made to ridicule or trigger someone.

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