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Why Eating Disorders Can Be More Psychological Than Physical

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Photo from Flickr.

Photo from Flickr.

Photo from Flickr.

Story By: Anjanae Freitas, Reporter

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Imagine that you have an eating disorder. No, not like that. Like it really is. Imagine having a voice in your head that barks at you like a drill sergeant. Now imagine that no one believes you because you are not thin.

The way our culture thinks of eating disorders is trash and naive. Society has created a false image that anyone who has an eating disorder must be underweight and flesh to the bone to be struggling. The truth is, anyone can be struggling with an eating disorder no matter their size or shape.

When will we stop adding to the stigma that recovering from an eating disorder is as simple as just eating? I do not wake up daily and think “hey, I think I’ll sabotage my own body for no reason today!”

I did not wake up one day and decide that I wanted to suffer from a deadly illness for the rest of my life. However, the voice inside my head does. The voice that can control my brain to desire, manipulate, and exert almost anything in my life in order to feel a sense of control.

Imagine this: you are getting ready to go eat dinner with your friends — a simple, yet normal action that most people do not think twice about doing. But that is not the case for someone struggling with an eating disorder.

Suffering from an eating disorder means mentally preparing myself for every event. My body dysmorphia convinces me that not only is eating harmful, but the act of eating in front of others is particularly humiliating. And on top of these thoughts, what do I wear? What do I order? And before I know it, I’ve already convinced myself not to eat, and definitely not to go.

Your family notices your constant dissociation and says “She doesn’t want to get better, she could eat if she wanted to.” Your friends notice you pull out of an event you have committed to months in advance and they call you flakey.

Not only have I been physically straining my body with anxious thoughts, but I am  wondering how for a pessimist I am going to attempt to be optimistic for that music festival I told my friends I would go to months ago.

In reality, my friends and family might not understand that in fact these events are all that consume my every living thought. I did not forget or not care enough to go, in fact, I have thought about it so much that I really convinced myself I could handle something beyond my control.

As someone who has lost so many personal relationships in my life because of this disorder, I know that it is not all one-sided. Not everyone is going to understand your decision for your actions.

What I can say is, if some of the people I have lost in my life had ever took the time to understand that my disorder is more psychological than physical, they might be a little more understanding to my dissociation or thoughts beyond my control.

I am not asking you to let someone’s mental illness affect your own mental health.The truth is, if you do not struggle with an eating disorder, you will never understand what I or others feel or go through. However I am asking you to simply educate yourself on eating disorders. How they don’t just harm you physically, but mentally. I believe that simple action is something we can all benefit from.

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Why Eating Disorders Can Be More Psychological Than Physical