Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why So Ashamed?

Why are so many people ashamed of who they are? Where does the shame originate for a person who is suffering from an eating disorder? What is it about society today that causes so many people to question who they are, and if they are 'good enough'? Everyone has an opinion. But it goes further than that. Society seems to imply that there is a 'stamp of approval' that we all must meet in order to be acceptable members of society.
This pressure is especially damaging for those who are already sensitive to the opinions of others, and is sometimes noted to be a factor in the development of an eating disorder. This sensitivity, along with other factors, is also what causes such an intense fear among those suffering to reach out for help. What is this fear all about? Again, it comes directly back to the judgments of society and the criticisms of those who are different or unique.
When I first developed anorexia about forty years ago, I consider it an advantage in this respect that not much of an opinion had been formed about eating disorders...they were virtually unknown. When I found out that I had an illness, I had no fear of seeking help, there just wasn't good treatment available.
Today, because of common views of much of society about eating disorders, those who are suffering are often seen as defiant, selfish, attention seeking, and just not caring for themselves. This couldn't be further from the truth. Or, for some who are suffering, there is pride, and a sense of accomplishment for being stronger than others because they don't 'need' food, which also appears as 'virtuous', which is not at all factual.
Eating disorders can be fatal. People can and do die from eating disorders. Anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder needs to know that with the proper kind of treatment, recovery is possible. You can't get help if you don't reach out and ask for it.
My recovery truly began in 2002. Until that time, the treatment that I had received was not based on research, facts or scientific models. I found during my recovery that my worst fears did not come to fruition when I challenged them. I expected rejection from others when I opened up to them, but I found support, and openness on their part as well. I was told for the first time in all my years of illness that recovery was possible! The staff at the River Centre Clinic ( ) told me there was hope. I had never been given that.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, the least important thing is that others understand. The most important is that you (or they) get the best help possible, and as quickly as possible. I found from experience that even if the people that you want to understand don't, in time, when they see that you are recovering and starting to reclaim your life, it won't matter any more. You deserve to live, and you deserve to be free!! No shame. Please step forward and seek the help you need! Namaste

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