Four months and a laps in recovery later, and I am still on the winding road to recover from what I thought was Bulimia. No sooner was I admited into Renfrew than I was told that I was considered to be Anorexic due to my weight, but that I did have Bulimic tendencies.
Eating disorders involve so much controversy and steryotyping. Girls (and guys) are labeled as eating disordered because the issues that primarily have to do with food. Some of these labels are rather nasty, and others are plainly out of ignorance. There are few who really undertand what it's like to deal with a disordered person, or to even be one themselves. Eating disorders involve more than just food, although many "experts" (those who think they know everything) would disargee.
I may not be the prime example of how eating disorders are born and bred, since I have not expereinced half as many harships as others, but even eating disorders can be developed in surroundings where one thinks is safe. Eating disorders, like mine, can get their start amidst life events, not just at meal time.
I have always loved the taste of bread, and the soothingness of a cold glass of milk. It's a throwback to my childhood where my mom would grind her own wheat and bake it into beautiful brown loaves of heaven! I still have those memories associated with bread, and even the thought of drinking a glass of cow's milk makes me smile.
In the same breath, though, it also makes me cringe. Just this year I was finally given the diagnosis I had been wanting, but dreading for many years. I am gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant. Boy, that would have spared me a lot of worry-and an eating disorder- if I had know sooner! But later isn't necessarily always bad. And, yet, it still scares me to even think about eating a slice of gluten-free bread, or a glass of Almond milk because of the pain associated with real bread and milk. Fear. It's consuming. And eatind disorders often feed off that fear.
Not only did allergies affect my views of food in a negative way, but certain life events and personality defects did as well. I was, and am, a perfectionist, a control freak, a type-A-personality-people-pleaser, and can be a very pesamitic person (when I have the mind to be). Above all I am subserviant-a humble person who works hard, doesn't like to take hand-outs, and desires very much to be self-sufficient.
Thus, my eating disorder became the thing I felt made me powerful and in control, when in reality it was drowning me in a vast landfill of bad memories and regrets. I thought I was in control, and to look back on it all now, I pity that girl-I pity me-because she, or I, wasn't in control at all. My eating disorder was.
So, food is not always the main issue that propells an eating disorder. It could be food related, yes, like food allergies. But it could also be due to family issues, negative dealings with a job or a boss, or, it can even breed life in the masculine enviroment of sports.
So before you label a person with an eating disorder, stop and think about the life events that brought them to that point. What made them choose this path? What troubles have they seen and faced? We've all got problems. So be patient, kind, and don't give those who struggle with disordered eating grief about their choices. Love them, protect them, and fight for them.