National Eating Disorders Association

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had to get tested--feel like everyone hates me

So, one of my eating disorder triggers is feeling like people are mad at me. I know, it's ridiculous and I had been working on it over the years with a lot of success actually. But covid screwed it all up. I already was feeling the collective anger in the air, so to speak and struggling with being made fun of for wearing a mask by some of the more ignorant folks around. But now, I have returned to work out of necessity. (We opened and I'm a single parent. I have to work). I ended up in contact with someone who was showing symptoms of the virus and I had to get tested and quarantine until I got the results. It was negative for me. (The person with symptoms still does not have her results). And now, I just feel like everyone is mad at me. My employer was being mean about it until I explained my living situation. I live with my young son and my parents. But until then, they didn't even understand why I would get tested unless the other person's results came back positive. I can't wait who knows how long until she gets her results to even get a test! My family would have (rightfully) made me self-quarantine until I knew. So, I had to pay out of pocket for the test to get it right away as going through my doctor was going to take too long.
Anyway, once I got the results, my family was happy but my parents seem mad at me. Like it looks like they are disgusted with me, based on their facial expressions. I've asked if they are angry and they said no, but they scoffed and said it really dismissively. Now I have to got back to work tonight and I can't stop thinking that my boss and coworkers have been making fun of me for even getting a test at all.
I just really need some encouragement and maybe a way to stop these thoughts. Thanks everyone.

Words of comfort

hi catdragonfly,

I could have written the post you just did. One of my greatest fears is that people will be angry at me, that nothing I do will please them, that simply by virtue of me being me I am "wrong". Please take comfort, if you can, and the very strong probability that this is anorexic thinking. It's delusional.

I'm 71 years old, I've been battling this disease ever since puberty, and I've been hearing that voice all those years. Sometimes it overwhelms me. Covid has handed it a megaphone. It yells and yells and yells and yells. It takes everything I have to send it to its timeout chair. It always comes back.

Covid should not be stigmatizing, but we are a society that stigmatizes as if it were a reflex. You're very wise to get yourself tested, especially given that you are caring for a child on your own. If you live in a part of country that scoffs at face masks, I am so very sorry. You are being socially responsible, compassionate, and mindful of others. Everybody should be wearing a mask in reciprocity. Everybody.

We have been cooped up for five months. You're right. People are mad. The air is full of anger. You're not imagining it. But it's not about you. Not one bit. If someone loses it with you, almost none of their rage has anything to do with you. I know that's hard to hold onto.

It's happened to me, too. I look vulnerable because I'm so thin. No matter what I do, how I dress, what makeup I wear or don't, how I walk, I'm a target. If someone wants to lose their s***, I never look like I can defend myself. (I'm practicing this.)

I wish I could protect you. I wish somebody could protect me. But sometimes we are all just out there in a world that seems aimed at us. But the important word is "seems". There is no real target. That's what's so hard about all this free-floating rage we've pent up since the lockdown.

You have dignity. You are decent and humble. You have wonderful things about you that no one can ever take away from you.

Please be good to you.



This proud NEW YORKER says THANK YOU for getting tested and being responsible and wearing a mask. I am so sorry anyone would give you a hard time about ANY of this. And if it makes you feel better, everyone and their mother in NYC has gotten a test (or have been tested multiple times), there is ZERO stigma at all - I hope it starts to maybe feel more like that wherever you are. <3, STP

It is a really tough time for

It is a really tough time for a lot of people right now and it sounds like you are just doing what needs to be done in order to get by and make your life work. IF your family and boss are mad at you, it seems unjustified, but it could be that they are not and you're just finding ways to make their reactions feel like anger directed at you. I'm not at all saying this to be dismissive or mean because I have done the same thing many times. I have learned though that sometimes I turn self loathing/ anger into something I project onto others. Perhaps nobody is actually mad at you, but you are stressed and upset and making yourself feel like they are?
I'm glad you explained your situation to your boss-- it sounds like there was some grace given once there was some understanding.
I hope everything is settling down for you and that you are feeling more positive.
Good luck.

Hi Cat,

Hi Cat,

I'm so sorry you had to go through this! The collective anger in the air – I feel it too (so much tension in society right now) and it's definitely hard. Don't forget the progress you've made working on your ED trigger of feeling like people are mad at you. It's still progress, despite the current pandemic making everything harder.

I've tried to use this time to work on my confidence and self-trust by wearing my mask, social distancing and setting boundaries. I know it's easier said than done and I'm lucky to live in a state where mask shaming is a bit less common, since masks are required to enter stores and even to visit more mainstream parks, but wearing your mask is a sign of strength. Anyone who would make fun of it is showing you their own issues and insecurities and should really work on themselves.

Not only was it smart for you to get tested, it seems negligent for your company not to require it (certainly negligent for your employer to be mean to you about it). You don't deserve to have to put up with that. You even protected your employer/their business by getting tested!

I don't know why your parents would be mad but I'm very sorry if that's the case. Sometimes I think people are mad at me when they aren't, but I don't know your parents, and I don't want to invalidate your experience by any means. No one in their right mind would ever make fun of you though. It's very normalized here and I even know some people who are happy to hear others take precautions, because they didn't speak up themselves but they wanted to.

My aunt just got a positive test yesterday, my uncle may very well have it, my cousin, and my sister-in-law's family had it. My best friend's grandmother was elderly but otherwise healthy and passed away from it when she likely would have lived another 5+ years if it weren't for the virus. I know someone young and healthy who had it in May and still doesn't have her lung capacity back, while her husband had it and is totally fine. The thing is, we don't know right now. We don't know how it'll affect each individual and it's stupid not to take precautions.

Getting Tested

Covid-19 has had a deep impact upon many of our lives. One of the main negative elements of the Covid pandemic is the fact that people with eating disorders and other psychological related issues have found themselves very much alone due to the lockdowns.
Your post raises a lot of points regarding how you are feeling - not just right now - but also with your life-long battle with eating disorder.
There's nothing to feel ashamed about wearing a mask as you are caring for a child. Sharing a living space will increase the risk of viruses spreading, so caution is advised.
The 'collective anger' that you were feeling will have been caused by the strict rules and regulations. This will create a quiet build-up of discontent and repressed anger.
Being a person sensitive to facial expressions, you may find the wearing of masks by others in the street as intimidating. No reassurance over the facial expressions....No potential warnings regarding facial expressions....
No warmth, smiles, frowns or joy....Just a blank outline of a face. Certainly not good for anyone who experiences heightened sensitivity to people, or needs constant reassurance of facial recognition.
The colleague displaying the symptoms of coronavirus should not be attending work.
Anyone who is unwell should really be sent home with immediate effect. Even with just a 'sniffle'. In 'normal times' it wouldn't have mattered.....
Your employer will be feeling the strain caused by this outbreak and will come over as not being very compassionate. At least they did show some understanding when you explained your circumstances.
You are a person who is very sensitive to how others may feel about you.
Someone in your situation will be experiencing not only the physical elements of your eating disorder and its 'triggers' but also the psychological impact as well. Eating disorders and psychological issues go hand-in-hand.
Your feelings about other people could well be connected to your eating disorder because the physical elements of the condition may be the cause of your anxiety.
This can be likened to someone with food allergies or conditions that can trigger sudden mood changes in people after eating the wrong food or not eating properly. Anxiety, guilt and sensitivity to other people can also arise because of your eating disorder.
You may feel that everyone is mad at you. However. This anger is very unlikely to be because of you.
Coronavirus is a purely physical virus that is transmitted via close contact - it spreads from person to person and can cause us to become very ill.
Although a physical illness, much psychological damage has been caused. There will be many untold stories caused by this outbreak. The business damage, financial damage, the personal damage.
Sadly. All around you, people have been touched by the virus....
From your own perspective, try not to blame yourself for how others may be feeling. This isn't your fault.
Where your home life is concerned, try giving each other some space and avoid trivial domestic arguments such as who should do the vacuuming or washing-up.
Your personal life journey has made you sensitive to others and resulted in you dealing with an eating disorder. The psychological effects, as well as the physical effects will cause your anxiety and sensitivity.
You may find it helpful to explore your feelings with a counsellor as this will help you to deal with these sensitive feelings concerning other people. You may also benefit from exploring your issues surrounding (and the causes) of your eating disorder.
Counselling can help you to explore your life journey and address issues that are causing your feelings of anxiety around people. This could also be part of why you are dealing with an eating disorder.
Eating disorders can start unseen (likely from very early childhood), over a period of many years. People don't see the problem coming - and when they do - they become skilled at hiding it.
It's a hard thing to discuss and to face, but you do spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what others think and feel about you.
There are times in life when you need to focus on your own objectives and put to one side what others may be thinking. If your colleagues are genuinely angry (collective or otherwise) with you at work, then so be it. You were doing what you felt was right for you, your colleagues, family and your child.
Unfortunately. The reality is - whatever the propaganda brought to you by the media - people are not going to change because of this. People will still feel the same way about life and will find someone or something else to get upset over.
It's no point burdening yourself with their negative attitudes because you have your own issues to deal with.
This is a life-changing period for us all. Use this as an opportunity to focus on what you want, what you need to do to achieve your goals and not worry about what others may be thinking.