“I hate everyone who has an eating disorder”

I’m blunt.

“I hate everyone who has an eating disorder!”

I find myself saying this over and over in therapy and sometimes to other people. Why do I hate them? I have one!

I found that I hate this “eating disorder” community so much, that I want to get away from it in any way possible. How can you hate people for something they have?

Here’s why:

There is a secret language in the eating disorder community that many won’t admit to. They will agree while reading this post, and then deny it once the reading has stopped. Some, under a guise, may comment on my post and agree that this has happened, or others, in denial and wanting to defend the language, will comment stating that none of this is true. We all fall somewhere.

Skinny camp (partial hospitalization) wasn’t easy. Here is what I found: This language of trying to “get to know” other people, was really something that sized you up (haha. pun intended) to see how much “street cred” you have. The caring questions of “what disorder you have” or “how long you’ve had it” and “how many times have you been through treatment” are simply to place you in a category. They are to find out how much credit you deserve. You know it, and I know it.

Then comes the questions of whether or not you’ve been hospitalized. Seems like people want to know what we’ve been through, and how hard this road is…. Nope…. They want to know if you’re stronger with your eating disorder than they are. There is a statement, or an awkward pause, that comes after if you answer “No”… oh, that means you were apparently NOT as sick as others. And for those who were inpatient for suicidal thoughts — apparently they do not have as much cred as those who had some type of medical emergency. The statements of : “she was just in because she tried to kill herself” or “she was just in there for a week” tell others how “bad ass” she is with her eating disorder.

Here comes my favorite — somewhere in discussion they will slip in their weight. This is either when the therapist leading is in the bathroom, before or after group, or when you become friends on facebook (cause you all know you do in treatment even though it is frowned upon). That is where the real dance happens. They try to sound insightful though, “When I was _____lbs and on a feeding tube, my parents forced me into treatment.” It sounds so honest, heartbreaking and scary (I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had a feeding tube….. oh snap! She said it! Street cred down just a little…. So sad…. I’m now LESS of an anorexic than the one next to me).

Really these comments sound honest and therapeutic because she’s opening up, but it’s flaunting. It’s flaunting how low your weight was, how terrible your vitals were, how sick you were… oh but more importantly….. how much you accomplished! How good you were at your eating disorder!

Does a therapist see this? I don’t know. Can they hear our language? I’m not sure. I am fluent in it – and we all are the first time we meet another ED person. We learn the language fast and clear based on our first interactions with people as they try to find out who we were.

Oh- I wish I could describe all the looks I got when I explained that I was not inpatient….. oh – there she goes again people! 🙂

Part of me thinks that the therapists don’t know this language or see what is going on; maybe the really good ones do. I’m not sure.

Is this language even able to go extinct? Probably not. This language exists because we are in competition with ourselves, and then in turn, others as well. Most importantly – we are IN the ED and want to stay in it.

I think I’ve figured out which ED persons I hate…. They are the ones who speak the language fluently and all the time. They are the ones who perpetuate their sickness by trying to speak that language at possible moment they can. They treat it like it’s high school French… if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. They can’t stop talking in that language and bring the topics up. They go out for “coffee” and want to constantly hang out to feed the desire to keep speaking the language more freely. These are the people who want nothing more than to keep talking about what their eating disorder does for them.

There are people who speak the language of health, or WANT to speak the language of health (but maybe don’t know how yet). Those people pull away from everyone else. They disconnect and want out of the world so badly. They try to pull away from the sick language so they can “lose it”. Those people do exist.

So, does my irritation for these people help me? No, probably not. I’ve learned I have to turn that hate out and simply feel sorry for those people. And really, I don’t hate them…. I hate the disorder that they are stuck in, and what it has done to their lives. There are some who are so stuck in it, and don’t want out, so they won’t get out. It doesn’t matter what you say, they just want to speak that language because they want to know more and more where they stand in the ED world. I feel sorry for them.

Sometimes it’s hard walking this path of recovery. We all walk at our own pace. It’s hard because sometimes there are people walking slower than you or faster than you. Some people have relapses that last longer or shorter. Sometimes there are people who are farther ahead of us, and sometimes there are none directly in front of us.

Although this is a very individual disorder, I do think it is our duty to share our knowledge and learning; one more person recovered is a life saved. That’s why I write.

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12 thoughts on ““I hate everyone who has an eating disorder”

  1. I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head! I have been thinking the exact same thing. Although I’ve never talked to another person with an eating disorder in person, I’ve been on “pro-recovery” forums where the language, as you put it, is rampant. Not only are people on those forums whiny (“I just CAN’T eat over XXX calories a day, but I’m being forced to, why me, I hate recovery, etc.”) but they truly do use supposedly caring and insightful comments to flaunt their disorder. For example, when one person was responding to my thread about exercise, she happened to slip in how much she exercised a day at her worst. It seemed relevant, but she totally could have answered my question without putting her own disordered exercise habits to the forefront. Or all the people who incessantly talk about how many times they’ve been hospitalized, in in-patient, etc. without really asking for help or advice or anything. And they think it makes them stronger, they’re fighters, they’ve been fed through a TUBE, and people like me, who have never been hospitalized, or even clinically underweight (gasp! Well then you don’t REALLY have an eating disorder…) are weak, and have taken the “easy road” to recovery.
    Really though, I try to distance myself from these people. They’re triggering and aggravating, and they make me hate myself for being in the same “category” as them. Besides, I had the option of being hospitalized or recovering at home, and I chose to stay home. I think that’s the stronger option, putting the belief in yourself, your family, and your team to work recovery without hospitalizations and tubes and inpatient and forced feeding. I am strong, you are strong, for freely choosing to try to leave the eating disorder behind, and for not using the language to keep ourselves caught up in the crazy competition for who’s the sickest.
    I want to be the healthiest, the one who makes it out alive, and lives a normal life.

    • I can’t believe I forgot about those starting sentences with, “When I was at my worst…..” hahahahahaha! So true about the flaunting! Apparently I’m not as fluent in the language if I couldn’t remember that! 🙂

      thank you for your thoughts 🙂

  2. When I first read your title there was a gasp! “Me?” As if the world revolves around me right?! Haha! Then I read your post and I totally got it. In PHP it was a constant competition. And I was the loser. I had never “made it” to IP/RES like just about everyone else had, so I was on the outs! Some people would not give me the time of day because I was what they called a “direct admit.” This meaning I just hopped on in without really being in the trenches. I had somehow failed. I was not sick enough. I couldn’t post pictures of myself on Facebook with a feeding tube. But now I realize my struggles have been no less real, painful or important to me. I accept where I have been and where I am going on my own personal journey. Interesting and brave post!

  3. I think it’s unfair to put everyone who has been IP into the category of not trying as hard at their recovery, that somehow it is the easier option. It only creates a bigger divide in an already isolating illness. I do however completely understand what you are saying and still find this kind of culture unsettling and I will admit that I have to distance myself from those that are not ready to let go of their eating disorder, who still crave to be the “sickest” or the “worst”. Recovery is such an individual journey with only you responsible for the outcome, so the focus must be on you and not what everyone else is doing if you have any chance of getting out.

    • I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. Putting IP into that category was not my intention. I don’t think they work less. The only point I was making when talking about that was that you get more “street cred” if you’ve been IP. I’m not sure what I said to say they don’t work hard, big that is not my belief or what I intended. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Aug 13, 2013, at 2:12 AM, Hungry Running Girl

      • I was referring more to another comment made about IP. Personally I was not offended by your words, and found myself often agreeing with them. I hate the idea of ‘street cred’, it is rather saddening that this culture exists but unfortunately it does. Looking forward to reading more from you.

      • I feel as though you are referring to my comment, and I am terribly sorry. That was an incredibly poor choice of words, and I did not mean to imply that any attempt at recovery is easier or harder than another. Again, terribly sorry 😦

  4. It’s the same with cutters and suicidal people in psych wards. But they’re super straight forward and obnoxious about it. Like “How deep have you cut? Where? How much? For how many years?” “I had to get [x amount of] stitches . . . on my wRIsT . . . aLL tHe WAy uP My eNTiRe arM! 0_0” “…stomach got pumped. So many pills, I should’ve died.” If you tried to hang yourself, it only counts if the noose went over your head and someone caught you and cut you down. If you told someone you were suicidal and they “turned you in” (got you help), you weren’t as serious as those who actually attempted it and were “caught in the act”. It goes on and it’s so stupid.
    I was at a place and when another girl came in with a slit wrist suicide-attempt, I was worried because it was longer than mine, but my friend assured me mine was deeper. Like wtf? Why would I be proud of that? That’s like someone tripping and breaking their nose and you’re pissed that that might be worse than when you slipped and knocked out half your teeth.
    Oh, and going back to the ED’s thing, apparently dancers, athletes, and aspiring models with ED’s were ‘better’ than everyone else because they ‘suffered for their art/future career’ unlike all the other peasants here. Idk we’re all insane.

    • Wow! What a great description for such a sad situation! I can’t believe it is like that for suicidal patients! I mean I can, but I never thought of it! What an eye-opener! Wow! Thanks for sharing that!

      • I really like exclamation points 🙂 sorry for the confusion. Your example made so much sense. I never really thought of that because I haven’t experienced that, but I can totally see how that situation would breed competition as well.

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