Anorexic Skinnies

By Char Shields - May 12, 2019

"I really appreciate your attendance with all us anorexic skinnies!" This is a comment that was left for me on the last day of contemplation group. We were all writing what were supposed to be heart-warming messages to each other. And this is what one person decided to write to me... in an eating disorder recovery group.

It's frustrating when non-sufferers don't seem to understand that an eating disorder is not a weight. But it's a whole lot worse when someone with an eating disorder can't seem to understand that either. Worse yet, actually point someone's weight out.

People who suffer from an eating disorder can be underweight, a healthy weight or overweight. They can have a BMI of 11 or a BMI of 30. My group therapist told me that they didn't judge someone's illness on how they look. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food and experience disordered eating, then you have an eating disorder. And you deserve help.

Going into a group therapy environment is terrifying enough without having someone shine a spotlight on your very worse fear. I've always viewed myself as "too big" to have an eating disorder, even though my weight has never been consistent: I've experienced extreme weight-loss, been a healthy weight as well as overweight. My biggest fear of going into this group was being the biggest one there, and to be judged because of it.

However, for the most part my fears were unjustified. Everyone was kind and appreciated my input. The group leader was proud of how involved I was getting, both in the group and in actively trying to understand and recover from my eating disorder. As well as speaking up about what I experienced. 
The sad thing is that under a sea of kind messages, I am fixated on one nasty comment. It's something that cuts deep, and will probably leave a nasty scar for quite some time.

As for the person who wrote me that note: I pity you. In some ways, at least. You, for some reason, appear proud of your illness and seem to need to reassure yourself of that fact by bringing down others. Clearly, you have a long way to go in your recovery and I wish you all the best. However, don't try to determine my weight through my illness. I deserve just as much help as you do.

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