I suffer from an OSFED – Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. While my Eating Disorder (ED) has most of the symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa, due to a couple of added symptoms and missing symptoms, it comes under the OSFED category.
My ED started when I was around 12, which means that I’ve officially been battling it for over half of my life. I’m on my third attempt at recovery. My first attempt, back in 2020, lasted four months. My second attempt, from July 2022, lasted two months.
And, as I’m writing this, I’m officially in recovery as of six days ago.
Nobody, other than those with addictions and eating disorders, seems to understand how hard it actually is to try not to hurt myself anymore.
My ED is second nature to me, likely due to the number of triggers in my environment. But recovery… Recovery is a form of discipline that never lets up. It’s painful, and the act of having to deal with it forces me to notice the triggers and be with my ED.
It’s a war, and while I’m winning the war, I’m constantly losing the battles within it.
My body is aching and in more pain than usual, and my mood is constantly switching because with every trigger comes a bout of depression.
And it’s not just food. It’s my appearance, it’s my clothes, and it’s the people around me.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re wondering how you can help someone with an eating disorder, let’s go over a few things:
- Don’t switch up planned meals. It can cause anxiety which can lead to binging, starving, or purging – dependent on the eating disorder the person has.
- If you’re eating together, consider having a distraction available. They’ll be more comfortable to eat around you if you’re not constantly looking at them.
- If someone struggles with binge eating – whether via Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – consider offering them pre-portioned food.
- Food Shopping can be difficult for many reasons – the abundance of food, the labels, and the triggers that come with them. A good way of dealing with this is offering to go with them, writing a list of what is needed, or maybe ordering food shopping for delivery.
- Seeing or buying multipacks of fear foods (trigger foods) can be difficult. It may be more manageable to buy a single pack to begin with.
- Evening meals are the most likely time for someone with BED or Bulimia to Binge. Ask them how you can help, without food around.
Every person is different, and everyone’s eating disorder is different. So, while some of these things may help some, they might not help all. Talk to them, see what helps them, and be open-minded.
But, as a rule, don’t discuss weight changes, exercise, or food changes. And do not mention how quickly they’ve gone through some foods – as they may be their only safe foods, and it can trigger them to feel more shame due to going through it so quickly.
If you’re looking for more information on how to support someone with an Eating Disorder, please check out BEAT – an Eating Disorder charity run in the UK.
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