Sometimes, we kick the can down the road. Sometimes this can happens to be eating disorder treatment.
You might tell yourself, “I’m an adult, I have my kids to focus on.”
“I’m overweight, I can’t have an eating disorder.”
“I’m an executive, I’m capable of figuring this out on my own.”
You might look in the mirror and see someone who doesn’t meet your idea (or the typical media portrayal) of what a person with an eating disorder looks like. This can often lead to the decision – usually made without talking to anyone – that you aren’t sick enough. You might decide that because you’re a parent, you’re not in a small body, or because you’re in a powerful career role that you can’t also have an eating disorder.
The reality is that eating disorders don’t discriminate.
Athletes, parents, individuals in the LGBTQ community, successful CEO’s, chefs, medical professionals are all susceptible to developing an eating disorder. An estimated 30 + million people in the United States live with an eating disorder. While some seek help (10% of those living with an eating disorder receive specialized treatment), there are others who struggle silently. Many of the people who opt against seeking support, are those who do not believe they ‘look’ like someone with an eating disorder.
Of the thirty million Americans with eating disorders, 10 – 15 percent are male. Of this thirty million Americans with eating disorders, nearly 3 million are over 50. Did you also know that those in medical careers are just as likely as those in modeling careers to experience eating disorders?
When most of us look in the mirror, we realize we are more than our jobs, our gender or our age. We are prepared to wear different hats as we transition through our days. Most of us can see ourselves as parents AND professionals AND tennis players AND friends. That is why it is also possible to be all of these things AND experience disordered eating.
You are allowed to be sick enough to get help.
If you or people who love you are concerned that your relationship with food is unhealthy – even if you aren’t over/underweight, even if you are otherwise thriving in other areas of your life, or even if you are also winding your way through other challenges adulthood has thrown at you – eating disorder treatment doesn’t need to get kicked down the road.
You are allowed to feel better wearing this hat, too.
For more information on eating disorders and mental health, please check out these blogs:
Emily Forsythe, MA, LPC is an evaluation clinician for Walden Behavioral Care’s Waltham, MA clinic. Emily’s work with patients over the years has focused on building relational and individual re-storying for whole-life wellness. Emily completed her Masters at Bellevue University, and completed her licensure in professional counseling (LPC) in Austin, TX. Emily uses a narrative lens to see her patients as the experts in themselves, helping them see treatment as beginning a new chapter when they first come for evaluations.