Talking About Binge Eating Disorder
Living with and talking about binge eating disorder can be extremely difficult, not just for the disease itself, but for peoples' expectations of how you are affected by this illness and how you are supposed to discuss it. All too often people who have no idea what we go through want to dictate how eating disorders can be talked about and shared. Sometimes reposting a simple article on Facebook is all that it takes for someone to turn your attempt to disseminate information into a chance for them to inform everyone how people are allowed to talk about eating disorders. But you should feel free to talk about binge eating disorder in your own voice.
The Facebook Nightmare of Trying to Talk about Binge Eating Disorder
I used to be friends with a person on Facebook that was once a little overweight. She went from a size 14 to a size four several years ago and she, somehow, convinced herself that she experienced the worst body image issues of all time. It got to be that every time I posted something about my experience regarding my binge eating disorder, or even just sharing an article about fat shaming or studies done on socially constructed ideas about body image, she had to rush to tell me how I needed to recognize the importance of her input into this situation because of her experiences. There was no room for my story when she was talking.
No matter how my body image issues affected me, she assured me that hers were worse. No matter how I had been shamed or treated based on my size (and keep in mind that at my largest, I was a size 24, 10 sizes larger than she ever was) she better knew the depths of suffering from being a large person. It got to the point where I started to hesitate to post things about weight or body image because I knew that she would pop up on every single thread to tell me just how this impacted her and how I should stop and recognize this. And not only that, but that I should frame my story to be more congruent with hers and validate her experiences.
Being Overweight is Not the Same as Having Binge Eating Disorder
At a certain point, I tried to talk about binge eating disorder and inform this woman that, yes, she had a problem with her weight at one time and I don't doubt that she still feels the lingering effects of living in a very fatphobic society. However, I have an ongoing illness related to my body that needs to be recognized for the serious problem that it is. Our situations are not comparable just because we were once overweight. I required gastric surgery and still need medical treatment for my eating problems.
Even when I tried to explain that just because our experiences were, and are, different, that doesn't invalidate either of us, she didn't seem to understand. If anything that just made her comment on my body image posts even more. She was determined to make me see that we were both the same and prove that no matter what discussion it was on body issues, she belonged there. Even when it was about things that she had never experienced.
Talking about Binge Eating Disorder Doesn't Need Your Filter
It's very important to remember that how we talk about our binge eating disorder experiences, how we frame our own narratives, what we choose to share and how to share it, is incredibly personal. No one should ever feel that they are justified in telling you how you should talk about your personal story or demand that you tell it only one certain way. When I talk about my life with my weight and my body image issues, I am going to do just that: talk about my story, my life and how it impacted me.
LaBranche, S. (2015, March 19). Talking About Binge Eating Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2015/03/when-you-talk-about-your-binge-eating-disorder