Ramadan and Eating Disorders

The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us once again and for those of us with eating disorders, it can be somewhat of a triggering and a stressful time. If you are in recovery or in treatment and are still physically unable to fast due to health concerns, then you should not be fasting, which is the case for me this year. You need to be able to fast with a healthy body and a healthy mind. There is no point if you do not have those two important things.

In Islam, you are excused from fasting during this month because you are sick and instead, you give Fidya (charity) which is paying for someone else such as the poor to be fed. However, the eating disorder could be so strong that you could be faced with a dilemma leaving you to choose between God and your eating disorder.

It does not help that Ramadan is still all about food. Food seems to be everywhere. Iftar preparations fills the whole day and everyone talks about what they are going to eat for Iftar. It can really mess with a disordered persons mind.

An eating disorder is a mental illness that the individual cannot control without the right help and it can certainly be worsened by fasting. The point of Ramadan is to bring someone closer to God, however if you have an eating disorder, it could get stronger during Ramadan and it turns into a battle in your head.

During this time, you need to be focused on what is good for you. Distraction techniques is a useful tool to prevent any destructive behaviours during this time. I find that writing down all my feelings helps. Praying should also be a massive thing during this month. Your recovery is the most important thing. Have an intention in your head to be healthy for next year’s Ramadan so you can fast for the real purpose.

You could be unsure about recovery and still in the grips of your eating disorder and if that is you then be sure to reach out for help as soon as possible. Alternatively, talk to a religious leader. Without health, nothing is possible.

This article was published on the UK’s eating disorder charity Beat website. – http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/online-community/beat-blog/ramadan-and-eating-disorders/

Waiting Lists…

Waiting lists for treatment, for any disorder is a frustrating thing. We are dealing with a health problem here which could kill us and they put us on a waiting list, which can last for years, but for eating disorder treatment, it is even more dangerous.

An eating disorder is a dangerous illness and by being put on a waiting list, you are asking for death because you wait and wait and wait and by the time you are offered treatment, you are severely ill.

This angers me because ALL eating disorders, whatever the stage the sufferer is at, should be treated early, before it gets worse. It seems like the specialists want people to be emaciated and severely sick to get treated. It should not be like that all.

Anorexia is a very life threatening illness and to many sufferers, being on a waiting list is a recipe for disaster because to them it means they are not “anorexic enough” to get treated and which they turn into being “fat”.

Eating disorders are completely and utterly hard to detect, which is why, any sign of abnormal behaviour, I think should be treated as soon as possible, before it gets out of hand. There should not be a criteria about how you must be a certain BMI to be anorexic. Not at all.

Eating disorders should be treated just like any other health issue. It is absolutely serious and nothing is being done about it. People are dying with the illness more frequently than ever, which proves it all.

I think it is time for specialists, especially in the NHS to start taking eating disorders more seriously and actually start to feel empathic to people with eating disorders. It is about time Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt does something about waiting lists, especially in mental health services because at the moment, it is awful.

Some eating disorder sufferers may not be dying, however it is not just about physical health. Truth be told, the emotional pain inside is what is killing us the most and whether the person does not seem to be dying outside, I can guarantee you that the person is dying inside, which is why eating disorders need to be treated as soon as possible because it is a psychological problem. The physical problem is only the symptom of the illness so therefore, if it is not treated early, it gets worse.