“You actually look thin in this photo! What happened?”
Said photo was taken 10 days ago and this comment was from a beloved colleague who knows my struggles with ED and even worse, has battled her own eating disorder for 40 years.
“Men love a soft, sexy body,” from another (thin, ex-bulimic) colleague who also knows my issues.
“You should just embrace the body you have. You have curves! And boobs!” from my former friend who (yet again) is aware of my eating disorder – past and ongoing. Just FYI: curves + boobs + sexy = FAT.
All of these comments have been made to me in the last week. In the 21 years that I have suffered from ED, people have said countless stupid things to me. I feel compelled to write a book called “Things Not To Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder, You Idiot”.
Some days I wish I hadn’t deliberately forgotten half of these silly, have-you-lost-your-effing-mind statements. I could make my fortune off them. Sadly, a lot of them are from the people who are closest to me who should just know better. I could say they are well meaning, but I don’t believe that they have thought it through.
“You looked much better when you came home 2 years ago and were 10lbs lighter. What were you doing then to be so thin? Can you do it again?” This gem is from (bless his heart) my brother-in-law. Two years ago when I went home so much thinner I was starving, purging and over-exercising. Yes, I can do it again. I am doing it again right now.
The kicker, (or should I say the kick in the teeth?) this week was from my recovery group when I announced to them that I was quitting recovery: “Well to be fair it seems like you don’t really want to get better. It’s like your self image is more important to you.”
You know what is the best thing to say to someone with an eating disorder?
Nothing. ED is busy talking to them already. Just walk the f**k away before you do some real damage.