To whom it may concern:
To anyone that would like to help someone to recover from ED
Lately I have been speaking with some very interesting people. What they all had in common was that they all wanted to make a difference to people suffering from eating disorders. They all had very good intentions. Sadly that is not always enough. These people inspired me to write this blog.
Meaning well is not always enough, learning more, is more helpful.
Albert Einstein one day said: Small knowledge is dangerous, I have to fully agree with him.
I feel very privileged to have worked for more than 30 years with people who are recovering from this Eating Distress or Emotional Distress (ED).
I prefer to use these words, because not one person I was working with was disordered. These people were having ‘human experiences’ of distress that was eating them, and they developed subconsciously, unhelpful behaviours as a coping mechanism.
What I am sharing with you, I learned from hundreds of people who recovered from ED, I regard these people as my teachers.
Here are few points, that hopefully, you will find helpful if you are thinking about helping someone from ED:
For family members and carers:
If you want to help someone to recover? Please learn what is Recovery from ED. Too many people are reading too much about diagnostics and looking for reasons why their loved one has ED.
We need to educate ourselves on how to find reasons to recover and motivate people.
Never stop believing that your loved one can get better and one day will experience freedom from ED.
Stop wasting time reading and listening to horror stories on how bad the illness can be. That is not going to help your loved one or you. Instead learn how interesting the process of Recovery can be, especially from people who did it.
ED is a subconsciously learned language of self-destruction and self-sabotage. Recovery is a consciously learned language of self-care, self-support, body listening and making wellbeing choices. The more you learn this language, the more you can help your loved one.
Nobody learns a language in a few weeks, it takes time. So, give yourself, and your loved one time to learn to think differently.
When you are complaining in English that you don’t speak Spanish – that will never make you fluent in Spanish.
Stop viewing the recovery process as something very hard.
Years ago, when drug companies didn’t have such an influence on mental health, people were much more excited about this process. I am not saying it is easy, I am saying it can be done and it is very interesting, and it is worth it.
Recovery is discovery of your strengths, your talents, the person you are. I never met anyone who regretted recovering, and to be free of ED, yet.
We need to stop always talking about the war and to focus more on peace, people deserve freedom and the mental peace from ED.
For journalists and people who have influence:
Be careful how you speak about people with ED
People with ED are very intelligent and sensitive. The words we use can hurt or heal. As well, the tonality we use needs to be motivating and freedom orientated.
Write more about Recovery than always the worst, de-motivation stories.
Many decades ago, I was told I can’t recover, and I have to live with it, and just manage it by an expert working with ED. I felt desperate, suicidal and lost hope. One day I read an article about a lady who recovered from bulimia. I still remember her face and the feeling I experienced. This lady and this journalist who wrote the article had one of the biggest impacts on my freedom and I will be always grateful to them.
Please stop always focusing on research on how hard something is, and on how bad people are doing.
We have too much research just proving that the wheel is round, the rain is wet and similar facts. They might be true, but not helpful.
Much research is done just to get more funding. Maybe it is time to check what actually is happening with all the funding what people have received, and continue to receive.
Any charity you click on makes the request to donate, donate and donate – time to change these words to learn, learn, and learn more!!!
People do not recover because you donate something, but because they learn. There are so many wonderful resources these days offering different, cost not demanding options. Let’s not discard these possibilities. There are many ways how people can recover.
Stop writing about people’s weight, size and when they were at their worst
Weight and size are not recovery and health. Sizeism is like racism… discrimination.
In Recovery people learn to trust their bodies, look after them, and listen to them. In time, when their body heals, and people listen to them and respect them, the weight will stabilise. In Recovery we need to focus on the size of the person’s life, not their bodies.
For health professionals:
Stop using weighting scales
Scales are for fish, pieces of fillet steak and cattle – not people
People are more than some number. Target weight, and BMI came to medical guidelines from commercial interests, not really medical research. People need to be very regularly medically looked after, and everyone in recovery needs to be working with a medical practitioner. Health is not a number. There are many other, more helpful ways to monitor people’s health then scales – yes, more training in medical colleges is needed and hopefully, will happen
Time to stop and think. What actually is helping and what is just repeated complaining.
For too many decades now I hear the same song:
Only 3 public beds(but time to look at what is happening in these beds), “not enough funding”, “it is getting worse, people are dying”, “it is difficult to work with people with ED”…. Maybe we just allow people to die by lack of hope and learning about Recovery?
I never saw any helpful results from these debates, actually the opposite. It makes people feel less worthy, and more, not good enough. People start to see their worth in suffering from ED, instead recovering. I have met many people who shared with me that if they died at least their parents will be famous, and people will talk nice about this person, how sad….
I really think it is time to change how we talk about people with ED, and how we talk to them, as well..
Maybe if someone has to go several times to another country for treatment – this is valuable information about the treatment our country is offering, and it can be changed?
Maybe it is time to learn from the large number of people who actually did recover in this country???? Time to look in the mirror as well
Many people prefer complaining on the radio then actually learning. Some presenters are even encouraging this – what a cheap, and dangerous way to get listenership…
Maybe, on these radio programs, we need to talk more how interesting these people are and how interesting the recovery process can be. Not how much they weighed at their worst….
“I enjoyed my Recovery “ How often does that make a headline?
There is so much more I could write, but will leave that for the next time.
Please remember: Everyone can be recovered, it is complex, but it can be done when more people learn how.
High numbers of people suffering from ED are a lesson for us all – time to stop and think differently about how we can help, and what changes we need to bring to help.
Promoting and learning about Recovery saves lives!!!!
Let’s stop repeating all this complaining of what is not done.
Let’s start to learn that we, all of us, learning from one another, can do more than we think.
Let’s think about the next generation, and how much more easier we can make Recovery for them.
Let’ start to create environment where people can feel proud being recovered from ED.
Let’s start today.