Now, I just need to say... do not, I repeat, do not tell someone who is recovering from an eating disorder that she is "looking a lot better!" that she "looks better with the extra weight" that she "looks healthier" because as these might be compliments to everyone else - they are not to us.
When we get further into recovery and more emotionally stable - those comments sometimes become easier to hear - and understand - in the way that they are intended to (instead of the ed filtered versions). And then there are those lucky ones (whom I hope to one day become!) who have reached those healthy places in recovery (mentally & emotionally) who can take those comments and embrace, love, and appreciate them.
It's a natural thing to say. We all say it. Because when people do start to get healthy and regain the weight - they do look a lot better, happier, healthier, ect. But... it can be very very damaging if the person is not ready (emotionally strong enough or healthy enough) to hear these kinds of comments. It can be very damaging to that person and their recovery. All throughout my recovery, as my weight has gone up and down in my attempts to maintain a healthy weight - these comments have always been so triggering and hard for me.
We know that they are said with the best of intentions and I don't want anyone to feel bad if they have said these things. I just want to educate and inform people. Because I think people don't realize that for a person with an eating disorder, those kinds of comments get twisted & distorted in our heads and the way we "hear" it is that you are calling us fat. And it's just reaffirming our fears. It's not y'all's fault. You are just the innocent ones in this crazy land of ED madness - but it really is triggering. Because when I already think I am getting fat and I am very aware (probably too aware) of every pound I gain, and I am struggling with the weight gain...the ED somehow, (that sneaky little bastard!) is so good at twisting things people say...
I would actually prefer no comments at all about the way I look. None. But if you feel you must say something - just say it once. Please. Please don't say it over and over... and OVER!! Because the more you say it - the more the ed convinces me that I am getting fat. I know it's irrational and I am working on trying to change these thoughts (logically, I know they are distorted - but emotionally I still tend to believe the filtered (ED replaced) meanings behind things people say...) I am very very sensitive and fragile right now and I don't need everyone around me adding fuel to the raging fire that is my ed.
You can comment on my mood or things like that, no problem! For example, one of my roommates the other day said "You seem happier lately." Things like that are great! Just no comments about my body and the fact that it. is. growing. People are always asking how they can help me and support me... this is one of those ways.
I hope this made sense and didn't confuse some of you even more... I know that ed's can be confusing, frustrating, & irrational (because they are to us too!) to people who aren't struggling with them. It's really hard to make sense from an illness that doesn't make sense...