During recovery and until now, I’m really sensitive when it comes to comments concerning my body. When I was still really underweight, people told me that I’d look like „twelve-year old“ or like „a skeleton“. My ex boyfriend even said once that he avoids touching me because he doesn’t want to „break me“.
Yes, it’s difficult if not impossible, not to be hurt by comments like this. Yes, it’s hard to face the reality and to consider that what people tell you may be true. Yes, it’s painful to see that your body looks unhealthy and ugly even if Ana (or: your body dismorphia) tells you that you’re totally normal or even fat.
Let’s face it: according to people’s comments you are still severely malnourished. Nevertheless, don’t take these comments too personally. You didn’t chose your ED and therefore you can not be blamed by anybody because of your outward appearance! People are probably so direct, because they want you to recognize that you have to change something. Nothing is less attractive than a bony, child-like body. So be honest with yourself as well and take it as a motivation to give recovery a go. Remember: with every bite you become a little more beautiful!
On the other hand, I was really irritated as well by comments that were rather positive. I remember one particular situation that I already mentioned in a previous post. It was the day I went to Disneyland and in the ladies‘ restroom, a girl came to me and said: „Can I tell you something? You are so tall an so skinny. You could be a runway model!“ It took me some time until I realized that this has been a compliment. I couldn’t remember a situation during the past two years when somebody didn’t find my body alarmingly thin, but actually attractive. The problem was: I still had to gain a lot until I could declare myself as physically recovered. I suddenly panicked. When I look great now, what will people think if I’m still 10 pounds heavier?, I thought. I will become ugly. I should restrict again. I should stop gaining. But then I remembered: my body still didn’t give me the sign that I’m healthy. I still didn’t have my period. I still felt very weak from time to time. I still experienced extreme hunger. I wasn’t a skeleton anymore, but I was still super skinny. I realized that it’s not recovery that is wrong, but the ideals of beauty that we live with!
And, finally, here’s the classic example: „You look so much better already!“ I had to hear it A LOT. And I know that people thought this comment would make me happy as I had finally succeeded in gaining weight. They did see my body with a few more pounds, but they didn’t hear Ana in my head who whispered: „You look better is just like saying you look fat. No surprise with all the food you ate. It’s just the result because you have been so greedy. You’re worthless…“ And so on and so on. It was a slow process until I was able to love and cherish my body again. But, believe me, when you finally reach this point (and by choosing recovery you’re already one big step closer to it!) comments on weight gain won’t hurt you anymore, because it will be YOU who actually believes that your body is alright just the way it is!