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Eating Disorders: A Beginners Guide To Supporting

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

April, 2019, Loyle Carner released an album entitled "Not Waving, But Drowning." The title hit me, and although I don't personally listen to his music, upon revisiting his work last week it sparked something, and I found myself wanting to write this article immediately. I get it's sensitive, and maybe unwanted, but its needed.

An Eating Disorder doesn't just equate to being underweight and not eating; sometimes it can mean the total opposite, sometimes it can be a combination of both, but the most important thing that I want to stress is that More Time you can't see it or sense it from the outside. Those who deal with them become masters in the craft of hiding them, but obviously you have your key telltale signs.

Alongside Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, eating disorders consist of Binge Eating Disorders (BEDs) and Other Specified Feeding Disorders (OFSEDs). OFSEDs are when your symptoms don't exactly match those of the prior three, and are in fact the most common. Anorexia is the least common Eating Disorder which may come as a surprise to some of you due to its presence in media such as films and tv shows. It's believed that 1.25 million people in the UK have an Eating Disorder, around 75 percent being female and 25 percent being male.

With an Eating Disorder comes taxing and lengthy consequences physically and mentally that are never really thought of at the start. Physically your body tarnishes; conditions such as gastritis, IBD, pancreatitis, can all be easily gained due to the damage to the digestive system; as well as this, acid reflux and long-lasting, uncomfortable indigestion becomes common; acid reflux can lead to tooth decay and staining. Blood conditions such as anaemia can be contracted due to the lack of iron minerals in the blood, and electrolyte imbalances lead to irregular heartbeats which can potentially lead to heart failure and then death, although potential it is a possibility. Those are just a fraction of the physical consequences; the mental consequences are an even more complex spiderweb. Eating Disorders can cause or aggravate depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, but what I wanted to particularly highlight is the loneliness they cause.

Even in a room of a hundred people, you feel like the only one there. You could be sat around a table of your closest people, family or friends, and still feel devastatingly alone. Eating Disorders are vicious and manipulative in that they'll make you think that what you're doing is right in the moment, but you'll come out of a phase or stage and realise that everything was the wrong choice. It's fucked. You can't just talk about this stuff, despite what it says on the leaflet.

As I said before, it's difficult to even see the clear signs apart from dramatic weight loss or gain; it's personal, and people will not want you to know about it. Maybe it's self-doing, but that is why it's such a lonely place. Eating Disorders are ruining, and you don't get an escape from it either. Distraction is basically a myth. The Disorder is todo with your body, and if its todo with your physical self and presence then how do you escape that?

Although any conversation or extended help will be greeted with reluctance or protest, extending support even if you're just suspicious goes a long way. You don't have to get into it, but for someone struggling, even if they deny any problems, knowing that someone else is aware and worried, and that they're not completely in it alone is a hugely underestimated comfort. As well as this, I would be sure to reiterate that what you know or what you think you know will just stay in between the two of you. And, do not be offended if you ever find someone becoming nasty upon conversation. It's highly likely that they're feeling bruised and somewhat violated.

I know that I've been writing to those who may lend support, but to any ladies or men reading this, struggling, you may feel alone right now but you won't always feel like this. Yes, its a never ending road, feels like the walk your parents forced you to go on, if i can put it simply, but things will look up soon enough. I suspect that a portion of readers will be struggling in all honesty; especially due to the general demographic of this blog. It isn't fair that you have to go through this at all, but you have the power to let this either make you or break you, and

I beg you to let it make you.

Positively Unhelpful

(They have three help lines for you to call, as well as this they provide extensive and clear information on navigating an Eating Disorder for the person at hand, their family, and their friends)

(They provide men with tailored and thorough help to see them through all difficult disorders surrounding food; they work with family and friends in addition and provide helpful online information and support for all parties involved)

(They provide support to those who compulsively overeat through methods of meetings and literature)

(Provide extensive support to families with members experiencing eating disorders)

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