One of the things that’s gotta give if we’re really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is to stop downplaying the suffering they inflict. This is a painful mental illness. The depth of despair is almost unimaginable to someone who hasn’t been affected. For so many who suffer, eating disorders are a way of grasping for control, of seeking comfort, or of coping amidst internal chaos. They don’t just take up a little bit of space in a person’s life, they can be all-consuming — a constant struggle amidst painful emotions and deeply distressing thoughts. If we’re going to beat this disease, we need to get real about the suffering.