Updated: Jul 7, 2020

As far as we know, around 25% of people with eating disorders are male. Because of the stigma surrounding masculinity, this could be more. This is one of the contributing factors making anorexia and bulimia incredibly isolating.

No matter how harsh, lonely, confused and controlled you may feel by this disorder, you can get through it. This much I know. I speak from experience, having battled with eating disorders throughout my twenties.

How do you know if you have an eating disorder?

The obsession is exhausting.

Avoiding birthdays, dinners, events, anything that threatens the control you think you have over your caloric intake. Running on a wired lack of energy from pushing past fuel deprivation and getting yourself into the gym. Self-justification, secrets from those closest to you. This is not a physical illness, it is a mental illness with physical side-effects.

Your personality has changed, your patience has shorted, you tell white lies to yourself and the people you care about. Eating disorders dangle a false sense of hope in front of you but provide no real reward.

Eating disorders present themselves in many forms; anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and more. Symptoms can be varied and may not present themselves in ways you expect them to so if you do think you are suffering from an eating disorder, please do not ignore your concerns or those who are concerned about you. You can be helped.

What can you do to help?

Repeat after me; “I am not ashamed, I have nothing to feel guilty about.” I mean it. Say it twenty times if you have to. Show yourself some compassion. When working with clients who approach me about eating disorders the first thing we do is address the route cause (the mind) rather than the symptoms (the body).

Let’s be real and focus on what this is really about - control. What is going well for you at the moment and what is bothering you? Does anything feel out of control? Does everything feel out of control? Do you feel trapped, fearful or anxious about elements of your world?

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change”

Reaching out for help

Psychologists know so much more about eating disorders than they did ten years ago. There are some really great people out there, from free resources to private specialists, who can help guide you through this phase of your life. Help can be essential for a lot of people. Reach out to me or book an appointment with a video doctor or your GP.

With help, in time, you will look back on this as a journey that leads you to know so much about yourself. This experience will empower you to grow in ways you did not know to be possible, and maybe even help others reach out for help one day.

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