Eliminate ED Stigma and Myth
One thing that’s gotta give is: Eliminating the stigma and myth surrounding eating disorders. Those who are suffering from eating disorders and their families face shame, guilt and fear. An eating disorder is not a choice made by those who suffer with it. Not only do they battle the eating disorder but also face the stigma and myths while trying to conquer and heal.
I think that we as a society should be more educated on what an eating disorder is. Just because they look well on the outside doesn’t mean that the internal battle is over. I have often replied to the comment: “She looks good”; “If I could show her from the inside then you would see how sick she really is”. I think we need to be more compassionate, understanding, and educated so that those who are at risk can access help before it develops into full its fury. This would also break the barrier so that early intervention could take place.
I think education will change the mindset that our worth is not based on our physical appearance, a number on a scale or a size, that our worth is inside of us and not what society deems as “perfect”. Our society associates happiness and success with “thin”, we need to change how very harmful this is.
I think that this can be done through education of the public. In our experience it was so difficult to face the shame and guilt associated with having a child with an eating disorder. During the first step of seeking help I encountered blame. To this day it still greatly impacts me. Not only was I afraid and desperate to get help for my daughter, but I felt enormous failure. It was like that we somehow had failed our roles as parents by seeking help. Our daughter was desperately ill. During her very difficult battle, not only did we fight the illness but the myth and stigma surrounding it as well. I felt isolated and afraid. I didn’t know what was “normal” with an eating disorder. It is a very lonely and hard journey. The support that we received when we got on the right path was the rock on to which we clung.
I think education would help to recognize the warning signs and early intervention could take place. It is so difficult to battle an eating disorder, but it is compounded by battling the stigma and myth as well.
~ Colleen Ludwig