I Think (insert relation) Has An Eating Disorder

I cannot speak for everyone on this because this is strictly just my opinion. I am NOT an expert so please do not assume what I am saying will work for everyone. Also if you enjoy this post please share this with others. You never know who it could help. 

We never know for certain what someone else is going through. This is a challenging part of life. When someone we care about is hurting we want to do anything to take the pain away. We say things like, “I know how you feel.” But do we really? How can we feel the pain for someone else when we have no idea what their inner demons are like.

It is no different when it comes to eating disorders. People need to understand that EDs are not a phase. It is not a diet or a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are a serious disease.

Eating disorders affects more people than most of us are aware. Your neighbor, friend, child, the person you sit next to every morning on the train could all be suffering and not even be aware of it. Those fighting with an ED do not know how disordered their relationship with food truly is- and that is what makes this so dangerous.

Only a trained professional should diagnose someone with an ED, but that does not mean you cannot intervene and help this person get the attention he or she needs.

Before you intervene, it is important to ask yourself why. Why do you think this person may have an eating disorder? If your response is “because they just LOOK anorexic” maybe reevaluate and think about more behaviors/symptoms. SKINNY DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL EATING DISORDER.

Maybe you notice at meals they push their food around the plate or always try to avoid eating in public. Maybe they go to the bathroom immediately after meals or you see them working out constantly. Overeating or eating in secret. Obsession with numbers, wearing baggy clothes, becoming less social. Always cold and tired and losing motivation to do things that used to bring so much joy. These are the things to look for- not just the size of the body.

If you notice these behaviors it is important to take action. I try to think back to when I first got help. I had teachers in high school invite me to eat lunch with them. My friends would try to get me to go out with them. No one forced me to eat- it was just encouraged. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to get them to realize on their own that a problem exists. Granted it is much easier said than done, but I was the one who eventually realized that I needed to seek treatment the first time I really began to struggle. Having coaches limit my playing time in games and close friends casually asking me if everything was alright began to help me realize something was wrong.

Sometimes it is okay to be assertive. Sometimes the person suffering may need this more intense wake up call. During relapses I certainly received some lectures that at the time made me so angry. But now I look back and I am so thankful it happened. They may be “mad” at you during that time, but it doesn’t last; soon they will be immensely thankful. I put mad in quotations because it is not your friend that is mad- it is the eating disorder. You acknowledge she exists and she is not ready to lose control.

Eating disorders are a touchy subject, but there is not nearly enough awareness on them. Early intervention can save so many lives. So if you think someone may be struggling try and get them to talk to a professional. Do whatever it takes to get them to be aware that they are sick. It is so important. It is life altering.

He or she may be upset with you at the time, but I would rather have a friend be angry with me for acknowledging they had a problem than dead because the eating disorder won.

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Coping Skills- Liv’s Top 5

Throat closing, shortness of breath, hands shaking, body sweating, blurred vision. Am I dying? – No, it’s just a panic attack, which is probably similar to what death feels like.

With finals coming up, a lot of people, including myself, are finding themselves to be under copious amounts of pressure. I like to give off a calm, everything is going to be okay kind of vibe, but normally I am freaking out on the inside.

With the semester ending we have finals. Our final assessment. Some of the time, a final can either make or break your grade. I am a perfectionist, pretty common for people with an ED. I love to compete against myself and make sure I do even better than the last time. So while most of you are just stressing over finals, i am over here stressing about beating myself academically, assessments, and well eating.

I used to do some really bad things to cope with my emotions. Like, real bad. But I just realized those aren’t coping skills- it just made me sicker. So here is what I like to do when I feel the verge of a panic attack coming on. These tips could come in handy for some of you as well!

Liv’s Top 5

  1. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty:
    I do not leave my room without this stuff. I have two little containers I carry around and boy do they help. Its just a little distractions to play with when you feel the anxiety coming on. You can rip it, roll it, manipulate it and it wont break. 10/10 recommend.Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 2.05.54 PM.png
  2. Meditation/deep breathing:
    1. I practice buddhism so a lot of my thinking is geared toward inner peace and becoming one with myself. Meditation and deep breathing helps to refocus and also gives you that little “vacation” from whatever is going on in that anxious mind.
  3. Writing:
    1. Yeah, I love to write. I may not be the best at it, but this blog alone has already helped me immensely. I have had people reach out to me to say how this is helping them and I am helping other people who suffer feel less alone. I love to help people and this blog is a win win. It helps me and it helps others.
  4. Coloring
    1. Adult coloring books/Mandelas. Buy a book. No explanation needed. (Barnes and Noble has so many)
  5. Working out:
    1. I technically am not really supposed to work out right now, but I still go to the occasional ballet class once or twice a week. Running used to be my outlet, so I hoping to get healthy soon so I can go back to running. There is just something about exerting energy and releasing those endorphins that seem to make things OK. So for now i’ll just stick to practicing plies in my room.

These might not all work for you, but they sure help me. If you’re ever feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try one of these tips…or just take a break from whats going on and clear your head.

Finals week=Stress week, but we can totally find ways to simmer down the stress and anxiety boiling up inside.

Comment/like if this helped/also if you have any requests for future blog posts comment below!

LIV