It began as a conversation about pretentious tattoos, then half-sleeves, then skinny arms, then blood pressure cuffs. And then I looked at the other two students in the Honors College common room and asked, "Have all three of us had eating disorders?"
We had. The ensuing conversation was fabulously cathartic. Don't get alarmed - it wasn't a competitive thing (although I of course think they are much, much thinner than I ever was). We talked about our families, our low points and our successes, and the things with which we struggle. We cracked jokes that probably wouldn't be funny to anyone else.
And we talked about how difficult it is for people to understand, how we've come up against obstacles and frustrations. How it's such a taboo to talk about it. We talked about how silly that is - shame is one more thing we don't need. We have eating disorders and we work to overcome them, every day. Dammit, that's something to actually be proud of. You'd think with our society's Puritan work ethic that working to overcome any illness, mental or physical, would be a lot less stigmatized.