This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. People are quick to judge eating disorders (in the same way I discussed the judgment of obesity last week). In this short post, I simply want to raise awareness of the support we should be providing people with an eating disorder.
There are a few key factors we should consider when dealing with someone who has an eating disorder:
1. Support - I believe showing someone support in a time of difficulty is crucial. Suffering from an eating disorder is the same as suffering from any other mental health issue or a physical disability. You’d wouldn’t shove past someone in a wheel chair or laugh at someone with a broken leg, so why should a mental health disorder be treated differently. Showing support is essential to help with recovery. However, know your boundaries. If the person doesn’t want to discuss it don’t bring it up. Don’t constantly ask about their food intake or how they’re feeling. Show you care and be open to listening but certainly don’t judge and don’t overstep the boundary.
2. Be considerate, when making an arrangement with a friend who may have a difficult time with food be wary of what you suggest. Maybe steer clear of restaurants or food related social activities. Suggest a movie, catching up for a coffee, a walk or another type of non-food related social activity.
3. Don’t let the eating disorder define you or your friend who may be suffering. Everyone has their unique talents, their enjoyments and their passions. Ensure that you are there for those around you and that not everything revolves around their eating disorder. Encourage them to follow their dreams and show an interest in their interests too.
Feel free to share this post to raise awareness of eating disorders and the support we need to provide those around us who are fighting their own demons.