It’s Friday, and you all know what that means! Another guest blogger! Thanks to Jess for informing my bloggers about eating disorders and how they are linked to mental health. Please remember to check her out on her social media below and give her a follow.
I’m Jess and I created a blog last year to continue the conversation about mental health. I discuss my experience with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety, and I hope that by sharing my story I can empower others to talk about their mental health and seek help along the way. You can find me on the following social media as well: Blog, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram
The “I wish I had an eating disorder.”
“I wish I had an eating disorder”, or “I have tried so hard to have an eating disorder” are just some things I have heard from people and even friends, and it has made me wonder why eating disorders seem to be so glamorized when I know the truth – and it is far from glamorous. I am not angry at friends and individuals for saying these things, but it does make me so concerned that there are people out there wishing they could have this life. I think the media is partly to blame for this, people with eating disorders are often presented in the media as young underweight females with this magical ability to restrain from food. Often the media forgets to highlight that many people with eating disorders are actually at an average weight or can be overweight, they can also be from a different gender, and it can affect different age groups. The media does not highlight that eating disorders are a mental illness that can affect anyone, and when you have one it can become one the darkest periods in your life, I would not wish an eating disorder upon anyone.
In Australia, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any other mental illness, is that something people want? There are so many people out there who have no idea about eating disorders and think it’s a lifestyle choice, which it is not. This is not something I woke up one day and decide to do; this is a deeply rooted mental illness. This does highlight for me that there needs to be higher awareness in the media about the true extent of an eating disorder, as well as developing early intervention education programs within schools that educate young people on what exactly an eating disorder is.
For those who do not know, there are serious health risks that come with having an eating disorder. My immune system used to be so low currently that I would get sick instantly, and when I got a common cold it was not a typical few days still able to function cold, I become very seriously ill which meant taking time off work and missing out on social events. Something a little too TMI but should be told is that you screw up your bowels when you have an eating disorder, I became so constipated at times I have been in tears from the amount of pain and discomfort I was experiencing. I also lost my periods for a while and was told I had increased my risk of infertility, and as you get older this becomes a scary thing when you start to plan your future and consider the possibility of children and realise you may have ruined your chances.
Due to the constant vomiting over the years I would often get tonsillitis frequently throughout the year and have a severely sore throat a lot of the time, I have had an infected mouth and throat which was not pleasant. By the age of 21, I had my first tooth removed, and have been paying a ridiculous amount of money to try and save the rest of my back teeth. Other people with eating disorders suffer from the ruptured oesophagus, stomach and intestinal ulcers and can develop osteoporosis. Moreover, people who suffer from an eating disorder can also have irregular heartbeats increasing the chances of heart failure, and can also be at risk of kidney failure. Above all, the most significant risk of an eating disorder is death, which scares me so much when I hear people wishing they could have an eating disorder while individuals are dying from the illness.
I could never imagine myself saying I wish I could have depression or I wish I could have anxiety, so why do people think it is acceptable to say they wish they had an eating disorder? Eating disorders are a mental illness that crushes an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. It becomes an obsession and a means of control for people, it becomes someone’s life and energy and becomes utterly exhausting trying to control it. Eating disorders are so much more than wanting to lose weight; it is a mental illness that takes that lives of so many people. So please do not wish you had an eating disorder, because it is not fun or glamorous, it is incredibly lonely and debilitating for people.