How Do You Support a Loved One with an Eating Disorder?

In the spirit of listening to young voices this week, here is a guest post from I Am More subject, Sophie. I came across this advice on her Instagram recovery page and found it extremely helpful, and not just for loved ones with eating disorders. It rang true for me as someone who struggles with depression, so I thought you might find it helpful too:

Sophie Cropped

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT A LOVED ONE WITH AN ED?

I get this question a lot, and it’s an important one, support from loved ones is a vital part of recovery for someone struggling with an ED, and I know from personal experience I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and friends.

Avoid diet culture talk💕
Any talk that fuels the belief that food is “bad” or something we should feel guilty about should be avoided at all costs, it only triggers our irrational fears about food.

Invite them to gatherings💕
People sometimes assume that I will not want to go to events with food (for example- Friendsgiving), while this could sometimes be true, you should still invite your loved ones to gatherings. EDs are isolating disorders, meaning they try to rip away all human interaction because it’s easier that way. Invite them to grab a coffee with you, or even to just sit and do nothing. It helps us more than you know!

Avoid weight/shape talk💕
While in recovery, many of my loved ones would tell me how much “healthier” I looked, while I completely understand the intention, this can actually do more harm than good. Many people with eating disorders are triggered by any comments on their appearance. Try complementing them on the way they laugh, or what a good friend they are.

Ask questions💕
Personally, I’m an open book, sharing my experience with others is very therapeutic for me and I love educating people about mental health, ask first if your loved one is comfortable with questions about their ED and their personal experience with it. You can learn so much from your loved ones, and it makes us feel validated with our struggles to have someone want to understand it better.

Treat them the way you would treat any other loved one💕
In the end, we are people, not our EDs, and while extra support and love is very important, we don’t want to feel like we are being treated any different. Support us when we struggle, and when we have our tiny victories.

Sorry for the long post but I felt this was important to talk about since I get so many questions about it. Thank you for reading, you are important and you matter so much! Have a great day!!!

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You can follow Sophie’s journey on her blog.

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