We all have bad days. Some days are better, some are worse; but when we think of someone who has a mental condition, we tend to think that its is constantly present in their life. A depressed person is depressed all the time. A psychotic person doesn’t just have lapses, but is constantly acting mad.
Someone with an eating disorder, then, must constantly be thinking about food.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
One’s condition does not define them. Think of Stephen Hawking, the man who can barely move a single muscle, and who will forever be remembered as a genius physicist. Think of Frida. Think of anyone else who had ever suffered from a detriment which society would consider a permanent crippling.
We are not just our illnesses.
But sometimes, we are sensitive.
It is strange how even among those who understand mental illness, there is still a disregard of eating disorders as a… fad? A phase? Something that can be cured with a single word?
The worst thing one can do to someone who is suffering from a bad eating disorder day is to say, “I will force you to eat.” “I will buy you lunch.” “You don’t eat sweets? You’re so weird!”
And then proceed to give them an annoyed look. A get over yourself look.
Well, guess what? It hurts. It hurts just like insinuating to someone with bipolar disorder that they should stop being down and go back to their manic phase because they were more fun that way.
We are not defined by our illnesses. We are trying to learn to control them.
But sometimes, we can’t.
And neither can a stranger.