The danger of assuming eating disorders

A few nights ago, I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook videos when I came across one that seriously pissed me off. The video in question depicted Natalia Dyer, an actress arguably best known for her role in the television series titled Stranger Things, and how she apparently has a progressive form of Anorexia.

I don’t know much about this gal, but after doing a quick Google search, it is safe to say she has always been relatively thin and small in stature. Recent photos of her have some folks speculating she is suffering from an eating disorder as she is looking quite thin, but again, from what I observed, her thinness is nothing new.

Could Natalia have an eating disorder? Sure, it’s certainly possible. What really irked me about this video is a concept that I’ve paid attention to since dealing with my own eating disorder(s), said concept being that whenever we spot a very thin person, we automatically assume what they are suffering from is anorexia.

These assumptions and speculations are, quite frankly, pure bullshit. Seeing a thin person does not automatically equate their slim frame with a serious mental illness, nor is anorexia the sole form of eating disorders in existence. Anorexia is a prevalent one, sure, but bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia and others are all equally debilitating and dangerous versions of eating disorders.

Not only did this video go ahead and diagnose Natalia with anorexia, but it also portrayed a message to the over one million folks who viewed it that anorexia must be what she has because she is on the thinner side. This perpetuates ignorance, misinformation, body toxicity and exclusion.

It is extremely important to refrain from assuming that someone is suffering from an eating disorder in general, let alone the specific form of disorder they’re experiencing. Eating disorders are insanely fucking complicated and difficult to understand, and seeing as one disorder often leads or merges into another, it is dangerous to send a message that we can diagnose someone simply by laying eyes on them.

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