But I still feel trapped by it. Awful when I eat etc. Sorry im saying etc so much * - * anyway. I made a remark about my size to my partner (who knows history) and he was saddened, defended my body and that I need to stop degrading myself. I said I was trying & genuinely sorry I do it, that I can’t help it. He responded “its like you, telling me to be positive”. I know I need to change but I need to somehow allow him to grasp it is more than self esteem, it is “Ana” within me – CONTINUED
I am sorry but don’t recall the last section. It was asking how to make people really grasp that my problem is REAL. though not reflected physically, but I cannot just think clear and stop being controlled by this “Ana” haunting me. sorry it didn’t work. if any of that makes sense.
OK, first, please don’t EVER feel like a fraud. It’s a universal experience that ED sufferers share: we all feel that we aren’t ‘sick enough’ or ‘thin enough’. But that is simply another symptom and if anything, make you more likely to have a genuine ED. If not, that wouldn’t bother you!
EDNOS is no less valid a diagnosis than anorexia or bulimia. Unfortunately, the shock factor of emaciation appeals to the grisly, sensationalist media, and that is pretty much all they use to represent an ED. In fact, anorexia is the least common of the EDs, and most sufferers are normal weight. EDNOS and bulimia are equally deadly and extremely dangerous, and what’s more, all EDs destroy your happiness and ability to function normally.
And that is my main point. Weight loss is one of many possible symptoms. It is one symptom in a shit ton of other ones. It is NOT the be-all and end-all that the media portray. It is hugely frustrating because most people’s knowledge of EDs comes solely from the media, and that is pretty much the least accurate representation.
I really feel for you because my main problem is actually body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which I find far more crippling than my ED ever was. But it doesn’t cause me any visible physical damage, so it is usually dismissed as not very important or serious.
I tend not to even bother trying to get most people to understand, and I keep it to myself. But there are people that matter, such as your partner, and you want/need them to understand. The best thing I found is to try to explain that this is a mental illness, and maybe ask them to watch a youtube video or two on the subject of EDNOS (maybe a Katie Morton one or something similar) and then try to explain how it affects you and the way you FEEL. Maybe read or watch a bit more about it yourself and try to convey this to your partner in your own words.
Sometimes, too, people act insensitive or dismissive because they are afraid or don’t know how to react or don’t want to see you hurting. Or maybe they just can’t relate to it and therefore dismiss it as not real. I find analogies REALLY helpful there. Try to relate your fears and feelings to something THEY have fears or similar feelings about. Eg, ‘You know the way you feel about flying in aeroplanes, and you know how you feel sick and terrified and like you’re about to die , etc.? Well„ that is how I feel if I look in a mirror and think I look …’ fat, ugly, whatever it is for you.
Also, tell them that your body is what represents to you all your darkest fears and worst feelings. Instead of feeling them or being able to handle them, you have come to somehow believe that your body represents the worst things about you and that you feel disgusting when it ‘betrays’ you. You use food / weight as a way of dealing with something much deeper that you can’t handle.
It has taken a long time for my parents really to realise how serious BDD is for me, but even now, when I have a freak out, they often react really unhelpfully and get angry. But the more we talk about how I feel at times when I am calm, the better they deal with it when I’m not.
TBH the best thing, if it’s possible for you, is to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to and open up to him/her in your own time if you can. If this isn’t possible for you, and you have no one to talk to about things, books can be helpful. I’m not big keen on therapy exercises in books, but simply reading more about your condition and recovery suggestions can really help. Also there is a good workbook (only a few simple exercises that can really help) here.
The boring and frustrating but true realisation I have come to, as well, is that the only answer to all of this in the end is to somehow find a way to be kind to yourself. Start with the tiniest things and work your way up. It feels weird, but it really makes all the difference. And if you can’t fathom being kind, start with trying to stop negative thoughts about yourself. Each time you have one and realise, just let go and don’t follow it through.
But know that your problem IS serious, it IS valid, and it IS real, no matter what anyone around you may want to believe. You are your most important ally. <3 I hope this helps.