National Eating Disorders Association

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Feels like I’m faking

For 11 years now, I’ve struggled with ED behaviors. It’s gotten to the point where I struggle to function and focus at school, think about it all day, and have really leaned in to the behaviors. I can’t help feeling like I’m faking though. I’m not underweight and it feels like maybe I don’t actually have a problem. I can only describe it as the feeling that I’m appropriating eating disorder culture and taking away from the seriousness of other people’s illnesses and struggles. It feels fake to claim that I have an eating disorder or to try to get help. I feel stuck. My logical brain knows I shouldn’t live this way but the rest of me feels like I am not actually experiencing a problem. I’m not sure what the next step is. How do I know if I actually have a problem? What type of help is even appropriate for somebody like me? I feel so lost right now.


Welcome to the forums, it's great you are here! We are sorry you're feeling this way, but you are not alone. If you want to discuss support options, You can call 800-931-2237 or chat to discuss support options. Helpline phone hours are Monday- Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET. Helpline chat hours are Monday- Thursday 9am-9pm ET, Friday 9am-5pm ET.  Keep posting!  

First, I want to validate

First, I want to validate what you’re feeling. It can be really hard to see what we’re going through individually as “real” or valid, especially if we start looking around at the rest of the world to try to compare/contrast.

The fact that you’re on here and reaching out for help — or at the very least, for a second opinion — means your situation and your need is real and valid. Any time a person is prodded enough by something inside them to even CONSIDER asking reaching out for support means they do, in fact, need it.

The eating disorder’s favorite game is the “not that serious” game. It looks a little different for each of us in how it goes about it, but at the end of the day, the eating disorder always wants us to dismiss our struggle. If we can’t be convinced it’s worth getting help (however big or small that help may be), then the eating disorder doesn’t have to go anywhere.

You’re not appropriating anything. There’s no barrier-to-entry for getting support, and there’s no perfect inflexible criteria for any sort of eating disorder. It always looks a little different and functions a little different for every person. That doesn’t mean it isn’t real or that you’re appropriating something that isn’t yours — I PROMISE you that.

The fact that you’re on here asking is proof you both need and fully deserve support.

It's not faking

If something is consuming your life so much it's not faking. You mention you are not underweight which might be part of why you feel you are faking. You don't need to be clinically underweight to suffer from an ed.
When it finally dawned on me that perhaps I had a problem I had lots of similar thoughts as you - was I faking? Was I confused? Would I be laughed at or not believed? The way I found out if I was "real" or not was by calling an ed clinic and going through their evaluation/intake process. FYI, many of these sites have anonymous quizzes you can take online before you even talk to someone to give you an idea. But, most places seem to have a fairly standard list of questions they go through to help evaluate what you might be suffering from and what level of care you might need. It worked for me to at least determine what was going on and encourage me to go on to the next steps. Then a whole world opened up to me that I knew nothing about.
Don't feel you are taking away, but seek out help so you can feel better! You deserve it :)