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⚠️Trigger Warning: eating disorders
There is a lot of stigma that surrounds eating disorders, especially men and eating disorders. It has control over us, even when we don’t experience negativity from those around us.
We are constantly hiding from stigma, constantly afraid someone will find out and see us differently because we had an eating disorder.
Eating Disorder Stigma and Men
Eating disorder stigma can be even worse for men and boys who suffer.
Often, eating disorders are seen as diseases that afflict a narrow group of people (for example, women or models).
Eating disorders are often seen as something only women struggle with; many people aren’t aware men can suffer from eating disorders, too.
This stigma surrounding eating disorders, particularly eating disorders in men, often keeps sufferers from seeking treatment due to fear of judgement.
What Can We do About the Stigma Surrounding Men with Eating Disorders?
So how do we remove the power stigma has over us? The first step is to remind ourselves there is nothing wrong with us. We aren’t broken; we’ve simply had an illness.
Although easy to comprehend, it is hard to truly believe this.
Stigmas surrounding mental illnesses such as eating disorders are so deeply felt we begin to believe them ourselves, even though deep down we know the truth.
It takes time but reminding yourself daily that you aren’t any less of a person because of what you are going through can help drive the message home that you aren’t broken.
The most powerful way to remove the power stigma has over us is by coming out about what we’ve been through.
When I was suffering from an eating disorder, I didn’t tell anyone. That trend continued years after I had recovered because I was afraid of what others would think of me.
Even though I knew the stigmas around anorexia had no basis, I still felt afraid of what others would think, say, or do. I didn’t even tell my closest friends.
Eating Disorder stigma still held control over me, even though I knew it wasn’t based on any truths.
Sharing Our Experiences
It wasn’t until Eating Disorders Awareness week in 2012, about two years into my recovery, that I decided I wanted to post on social media about my experiences to help people.
I didn’t know it at the time, but being honest about what I’d gone through was the most powerful thing I could do to remove the power stigma had over me.
Another benefit to sharing our experiences is that the more people open up about eating disorders, the more diverse eating disorder stories become and the more informed the public becomes about what eating disorders are like and how anyone can suffer from them.
This, in turn, decreases the stigma surrounding eating disorders and helps break down barriers to treatment.
In addition, making those around us aware of eating disorder symptoms, in particular, can help others seek help and get diagnosed more quickly.
Lastly, when we share our experiences, not only do we defeat the power stigma has over us, we also help reduce that stigma for others so they feel comfortable being open about their own experiences, too.
If you would like to share your experience with an eating disorder, click here to learn more!
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Scott hopes to turn the negativity of his Anorexia into something positive by supporting other men and women who struggle with eating disorders in any way he can. He also hopes to raise awareness of eating disorders in men in order to get better treatment. His message is simple: recovery is possible, and you can achieve it. Some of his hobbies are coffee, cars, and bicycle racing. He is currently studying mechanical engineering and German.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.