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