We all have different appetites, likes or dislikes, and access to different foods, so we all eat differently. We are all different shapes and sizes – all unique. We live in a society where images and information we see online and in the media can make us feel like we need to look a certain way and this can have an impact on how we feel about our own bodies and then on our relationship with food.
What are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses which can affect people of all ages, backgrounds, weight, genders and ethnicities. When struggling with difficult feelings or situations, people often see their body as something that they can have control over and so start to strictly dictate what they can and can’t do in terms of food and exercise. This is a method of self-harm but is tricky to spot.
There are a number of terms that you may have heard of describing certain types of eating disorders. These are just a few of them and quite often, other types are not well known and are therefore undiagnosed. This is a helpful website to give you some more information on types and symptoms. CLICK HERE
Becoming restrictive or secretive around eating can have a huge effect on the way an individual will live their lives. For example, going to parties, being at school, eating with family all become a personal battle. This can lead to the individual isolating themselves from family and friends as they try to avoid being found out. This can make people around them feel hurt or angry but it is important to try and understand why they are acting this way.
Young People’s Experiences
Those who have suffered from eating disorders and since recovered, talk about it as if the disorder was controlling them. So they might want to get better, but there is a louder voice inside them that keeps them feeling bad about themselves. You will find examples of young people’s personal experience on this website HERE
It can be hard to ask for help for a friend or yourself, but there is support and it’s important that you get professional help. Speak to a trusted adult or parent, and make an appointment with your GP. Find out more about getting help HERE.
There are some social media accounts that promote dangerous and unhealthy behaviours in an effort to ‘help’. People who put these things online are very unwell themselves and it is important not to see them as helpful. If you or someone else is drawn to these accounts, please know that there are safe websites that you can turn to instead. The BEAT charity runs a one to one chat support and also has online support groups HERE