When Your Eating Disorder Looks Like A Freak Show

Feelin’ about 50 shades of WTF.
Haven’t posted in a hot minute because I’ve been struggling a bit in this transition to Denver (love the city, love my life here – but just having some control issues that OF COURSE manifest into weight loss) and I’m working through them with daily OA meetings. (Post to come on OA soon.)
However, I’m coming out of the woodwork because I am all sorts of emoji red face P.O’ed
Everything in that picture above is what I loathe about the portrayal of eating disorders.
Yesterday, I woke up and these article headlines about me ran on the UK Daily Mail, Sun, and Mirror.
YEP GUYS -there I am – the two-headed eating disorder freak show splattered across UK media.
My agenda every day is to represent recovery in a way that relates to ALL yet time and time again the world has a tendency to portray people with eating disorders as though we are some fictitious character straight outta American Horror Story.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful every single day for the opportunity to write about this shiz. It’s kept me connected with the community as well as find an outlet of accountability, but the problem with this kind of portrayal is that it sends the message to people that you have to be “that” sick to really have an eating disorder.
It discourages people from voicing their struggle because they look at horror headlines like that and think to themselves “Oh, well I’m not vomm’ing blood into a toilet – I guess I’m not really that bad.”
The truth is, am I proud of those articles content? Yes. The journalist was respectful and asked real, human questions about my recovery and ED experience. She does not choose headlines, and I have nothing but kind words to say about our interview process.
However, when I read these headlines, I absolutely bloody cringe. Not only because it’s grossly and salaciously manifesting as cheap click bait, but because the headlines heighten my experience with body dysmorphia and eating disorders in a glorified one-of-a-kind manner.
Did I feel and do all those things? Yes. I did have trouble sitting on a subway. I passed people on the SIDEWALK (not street) and had moments that I panicked. “WHAT IF I RUN INTO THEM WITH MY THIGHS.”
I was very sick. I’d never deny that and I’ve got a whole helluva lot of war stories- we all do in recovery, as I’m learning through my resurgence of OA meetings.
Half of recovery is letting those “war stories” go and moving forward.
I just want to reiterate today that I was still a real person back when I was sick. I went to work like anyone else (albeit not fully present), and I functioned as best as i could.  At the end of the day my experience is really no more extreme than anyone else out there struggling with BDD and ED.
PLEASE REMEMBER — You don’t have to have “bloody vomit” and “fear of walking down the street” to quality for an ED or BDD, just as you don’t need to have a salacious bikini pic to qualify as “recovered.”
I hurt myself a lot over the years, and I am still learning what it means to be healthy of mind. However, I want to continue to reiterate that you don’t have to look, act, or be any certain way to suffer from ED.
Ignore those headlines – not everyone’s experience with mental illness has these glorified extremes that they imply.
If you are sick, you know. You know because your life is passing – one day after the other- and you’re missing it, and it’s sad.

11 thoughts on “When Your Eating Disorder Looks Like A Freak Show

  1. Pingback: It's True: You Probably Aren't "Sick Enough" To Have An Eating Disorder - I Haven't Shaved In 6 Weeks

  2. Emma

    I’ve just binge read like twenty of your articles. I love your blog so much. It’s so inspiring. I’m sorry that you have to endure these awful headlines, but I hope it helps to know that it’s genuinely helping others in their recovery journeys.
    I thought I was the only one with a crazy ED brain that tells me I won’t fit in places which are clearly big enough. As much as it sucks that you have these thoughts too, it is nice to know I’m not the only one.

    1. Emma – you beautiful person. Thank you for writing that. As much as it *hopefully* relates to you – please know that comments like yours help me not to feel as isolated as well. And no – lol – you are definitely not alone with the ED brain. While I knew I could walk down a street, there were many, MANY times I did not think I could sit in a seat, or squeeze between people on a subway. And those days were very anxiety-ridden and complicated. Thank you again for your comment. Made my day <3

  3. Pingback: Ladies, It’s “Crop Top” Season: Summer Life With Body Dysmorphia | I Haven't Shaved In 6 Weeks

  4. Pingback: Ladies, It’s “Crop Top” Season: Summer Life With Body Dysmorphia | I Haven't Shaved In 6 Weeks

  5. Jo ellen osterlind

    Wow, Lindsay, this is shocking and your response so right on the mark

    How are yo doing in the snow inApril???? No bluebells, right???

  6. Shannon

    I’ve noticed that for some reason UK magazines and entertainment newspapers seem to always have headlines like that — like American tabloids. It’s very strange, and doesn’t lend itself to a presentation of good journalism.
    I hope you’re checking out some ED recovery meetings in Denver!

    1. This took me way too long to reply – but when I’m not writing frequently I have a tendency to ignore my blog (I’m sure there’s some avoidance issue there lol)

      Anyway, just want to thank you for your comment. The UK media does have that tendency – but yes so does America. Just a means for more clickbait – which I understand but it’s also frustrating.

      The recovery meetings here are great – yes! Love them 🙂

  7. Katy

    Love girl, love! What you do IS changing people’s lives and I’m so proud of you. Not only do you put your story out there, but you stand behind it! Keep writing and healing!

    1. Katy

      And girl tell it about having to be a certain way to have a mental illness-it affects you no matter what you do or how you look!

    2. Katy – just can’t thank you enough for your comments. Your support is the reason I’d ever keep writing in the first place (cause, let’s be honest, if I didn’t have the support there’s no way I could be that brave lol)

      sorry this is coming so late- when I’m not always in my best place I have a tendency to avoid my blog (because duh, obviously I don’t want to write) but just wanted to make sure you knew how thankful I am for your comments. If you ever need anything – please reach out to me 🙂

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