Why Can’t People Just Read My Mind?
So…you get upset because you think no one understands you. You think everyone should know by now that you won’t eat XYZ or that you are “triggered” when others say this or that.
“Why can’t everyone remember my rules?”
That’s easy to answer. Because not everyone has an eating disorder so they don’t think the same way that you do. Remember, the eating disorder (E/D) thoughts going on in your brain are YOUR thoughts and rules, not everyone else’s. You made them up yourself and you are the one who follows them. Most people don’t have the same rigid, black & white rules about eating and food. You know those rules: good vs bad foods, healthy vs not healthy foods, the long list of things you can not allow yourself to eat. Most people just eat because they are hungry, or they want to eat a certain food, or they eat just because they like to eat.
“Why can’t he see that I’m uncomfortable with eating XYZ?”
He can’t see that your uncomfortable because he probably doesn’t have an eating disorder and he can’t read your mind. You have to communicate your thoughts and feelings to others. Do you get angry because people forget that you won’t do this or that? Remind them. The more you talk about your eating disorder thoughts, feelings, or rules many things start to happen.
First: Others can start to get an idea of just how your thinking or mind works. E/D thoughts are uncommon to those who don’t suffer from one. Talking about these feelings or thoughts can help teach people in your life more about you and the E/D thoughts you are having.
Second: Communicating your E/D thoughts or feelings can help you unload. By communicating you can actually start venting so all your feelings don’t pile up and become too much of a burden to you. Many people with an eating disorder feel that they can’t turn their mind off or that they think too much. Venting to someone you love and trust can help you get rid of some of these ongoing E/D thoughts.
Does everyone have to know I have an eating disorder?
No. Start by telling the people who love and care about you the most like your family and close friends. If you have a support team (therapist, nutritionist or psychiatrist) definitely open up with them.
Finding your path to recovery from an eating disorder is possible and improving your communication skills with others is a first big step in the right direction.
Sharon R Peterson, LCSW-C (Founding Director of Eating Disorder Network of Maryland)