Hi! This is something I wrote that tells you a bit about me, indirectly. Hope it helps inspire people and allow for connections to be recognized! What I Wish You Knew About My Enemy, Ed You don’t know, unless you live it. You can’t know, unless you live it. You can’t give me advice, unless you have lived it. You simply don’t get it, unless you live it. What I am trying to say is that people without eating disorders or those who have not gone through the hell of an eating disorder, simply do not get it. There are so many things I wish people without eating disorders knew. No one living with the enemy, Ed, wants to hear things like it's not that hard to eat or just get help, it's fine. An eating disorder is by no means a choice. I did not wake up one day and think to myself, hmm I really want and eating disorder. That is definitely not how this happens. An eating disorder is a persistent disease that never shuts down. This is a disease that will never go away, yet it will be something that is coped with and calmed eventually. Here are 10 things I wish everyone knew about eating disorders. Food is not the problem, at least not the main problem. For many, eating disorders have underlying causes and infractors. Food is used as a coping mechanism. Eating and not eating, binging and purging are the ways we cope with the underlying issues at hand. Anxiety travels up us as we take a bite of food because another issue in our life has taken over our brain and our ability to eat normally. Getting help is not as easy as it looks, and does not happen in a timely manner, which is okay. I have been told many times, “just go get help” or “just call tomorrow and it will be fine”. Admitting to wanting to get help takes a lot out of a person. It is not as simple as responding to someone with, yes I will call someone tomorrow and get this taken care of. Getting help for an eating disorder means facing up to it. It means that you actually have to work on recovering and ridding of bad habits. This takes time to accept and come to terms with. Although there are many steps to recovering from an eating disorder, taking it slow is what we need, and we need family and friends to recognize this. If we say we want to get help, that does not mean that we will seek assistance the next day. Once our brains allow us to feel comfortable with the idea, we will do it. Just because I'm eating well, it does not mean my eating disorder is gone. It is hard to hear someone tell you you are doing absolutely fine just because on the outside you look like you are eating well. Internal struggling is the hardest thing to deal with and when someone tells you you are fine, but you know you're not, it leaves an impact. Sometimes I might eat a really good meal, but no one knows what happens after that meal, but me. My mind goes absolutely crazy. Thoughts race and bounce off the sides of my skull. I wish I could be ripped out of my own body. After eating, I feel disgusted. Just because you saw me or someone with an eating disorder eat a “normal” meal, does not mean we are cured by any means. Saying just eat is not going to do anything. Telling someone with an eating disorder to “just eat” it not going to get them anywhere. It is so much more than putting the food in your mouth, chewing, then swallowing. It is a mental game. It takes a lot out of me, and I am sure others with an eating disorder, to eat a small portion of food. We simply cannot just eat! It does not work like that. I wish people knew that eating one cracker can have such a negative impact. Yes, I know. It is one cracker that probably has 1 calorie, but the feeling it leaves through your whole body is destructive. I'm not ungrateful, I'm just struggling. I know that I have an amazing life outside my eating disorder. My family and friends are amazing and my life is great. I have nothing to complain about but the enemy, Ed. People with eating disorders are not ungrateful for the life they have. Just because we may treat our bodies like garbage, doesn’t mean we are not grateful for them. I am so thankful for the ability to walk and run and jump and move. Just because I don’t treat my body well does not mean that I am ungrateful. I wish I could treat my body better, but the disorder has taken over my brain. I know you see me as thin, but I truly don't, so no need to convince me. Body dysmorphia is real. Telling someone with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder that they are thin and that they do not need to restrict calories or starve themselves, will not make a difference. We do not see ourselves as everyone around us does, so telling us that will not flip a switch in our heads and change our perspective. There is a blocked part in our heads that will not allow us to see ourselves normally. I can honestly say that is one of the most frustrating parts of my eating disorder. Hearing my family and friends tell me how amazing my body is, is extremely conflicting. I wish I could see what they see, but Ed has me in a trance. I honestly just wish people truly knew how much eating disorders suck. I would never wish an eating disorder upon anyone. They are draining, destructive, sad, angry, depressive, intense, emotional, and just plain awful. There is not a second that goes by in which I am not thinking of food, my body, my next meal, my meal in three weeks, exercise, and so much more. Eating disorders consume all of your energy and drown your brain with negative thoughts. Eating disorders cause the smallest events to become huge catastrophes. They are consuming and prevent me from doing things I love. I wish society could change their mindsets. It would be great if society would understand that being stick thin is not the ideal body type. I hope one-day society could take a step back and understand that everybody is beautiful and every body is also beautiful. People need to learn to accept every body type and recognize the beauty in everyone. Also, we need to veer from commenting on people’s pictures that they look “so skinny” or that they are “skinny minny's”. Is it a good think to look incredibly skinny? Telling people they look healthy is better than saying skinny. Society has brainwashed people to believe that skinny is beautiful and the norm. I wish society could change. I wish people knew what went on in the mind of someone with an eating disorder. When you look at me while I am eating and when I am finished, you may see a normal face. You do not know what is going on in my head. When I finish eating, my head is actually exploding. Thoughts are racing and bouncing off the walls of my skull. The guilt and sadness builds up leaving me with depressive thoughts. Just because I may look like I’m fine after I eat, doesn’t mean I'm internally destroying myself. This is a major thing people need to learn about eating disorder. The mind is extremely powerful and can dominate one’s actions. I wish I could be free. I wish that eating disorders did not exist. I wish my relationship with food was normal. I wish I could eat like my friends do. I wish I could go to a cafe with friends and get a muffin. I wish I could order a milkshake and enjoy the amazing flavor. I wish I could order a frappuccino at Starbucks. I wish I could follow my hunger cues and eat when I am hungry. I wish I could eat what I was craving. I wish I could go to restaurant and order what looks good, not what is good for Ed. I wish I could do something for me, not Ed. I wish I could be free from my enemy. As you can see, eating disorders are not easy to live with. Well, that is an understatement. As you can see, eating disorder are absolute hell. They are internally destructive, mentally and physically draining, sad, and overall life absorbing. My hope is that after reading this, you will get a slightly better understanding of what people with eating disorder are truly experiencing. My hope is that one day I can let go of my enemy and shut down Ed.