It’s potluck season, we’ve actually had two at work in the last month and as someone who has a bit of an awkward relationship with food, this season can be straight misery. On the outside, the expectation is to be excited about the season of indulging, sharing favorite recipes, exchanging dishes and I enthusiastically play the part. I even share my recipes on here from time to time for others to enjoy. On the inside though it’s more like; fuuuuuccccckkkkkk. Having an eating disorder is something one really keeps to themselves which can be a predicament when partaking in any event that involves food. It’s a curious thing – roughly 30 million people in the US live with one yet we treat it like a taboo, something that we need to keep a secret. Life would be infinitely easier if I could just tell people that I couldn’t participate in the food frenzy because I have an eating disorder. That I hate eating with people, I hate watching people eat, I hate people watching me eat, (you get the idea) and that I’d like to be left alone about it. That I may look normal on the outside but on the inside it’s a constant battle of not fixating on something that I have obsessed over for almost a decade of my life. That I see food as a necessity of survival not a reward or source of pleasure. That every time I feel overly full or guilty about eating something or guilty about someone seeing me eat something, I know that I could just throw it up and feel better. Now I haven’t, in quite some time but having a dormant eating disorder is kind of like being an addict in recovery, it will always be there and it can be easy to revert back to that lifestyle. I know that it’s unfair of me to feel so prickly about this but I just wish that people could be a little more sensitive and stop to consider a few things before saying anything.
What someone else is or isn’t eating, isn’t anyone’s business – so don’t ask. Maybe they just aren’t hungry but maybe there’s something else going on and maybe they’re going to lose their shit if you ask them again. I’ve become pretty adept at making excuses like not being hungry or already having ate but I have also just filled my plate only to throw the food away to avoid awkwardness. I know that people probably mean well, I get that but just don’t ask.
Again, people probably mean well but pointing out the fact that someone tends to skip gatherings or excuses themselves early also isn’t necessary. Organizational gatherings are easier to skip than smaller team ones and I will skip them if I feel like it, I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it.
Not on purpose anyway, if someone has asked me more than once if I’m sure that I’m not hungry then I will get a little firm but I’m not setting out to hurt anyone’s feelings by not partaking in their goodies.
I can only speak for myself but I imagine that most people who live with these disorders are trying their very best to appear normal.
That’s it, now I am not saying that everyone who claims to not be hungry has something else going on but maybe they do and maybe it’s just better to stop and consider for a moment before speaking.