You’re So Smart! Why Do You Have An Eating Disorder?

“You’re so smart! Why do you have an eating disorder?”

I have been asked this multiple times. While I can see how it is supposed to be a compliment, this question tends to hurt me. For example, when someone asks me this, I feel as if they’re telling me that I’m choosing to do this to myself. And that I’m making the worst choice possible. That I should be smart enough to realize what I’m doing to myself. 

A choice?

First of all, eating disorders are not a choice. And if they were, why would anyone choose to live a life with one? Eating disorders make life difficult and present a number of challenges. They are not a choice. Eating disorders are mental illnesses.

What also hurts about this question is that it comes from people who are close to me. The ones who see firsthand how much I am struggling. The ones who know me best. It hurts so much coming from them because I feel as if I’m failing them by having an eating disorder. 

However, I’m reminding myself that when they ask this question, it isn’t meant to be mean or disrespectful. It isn’t intended to make me feel bad about myself. They are asking because they are concerned.

They are asking because they themselves are trying to understand why this is happening to me.

Every time someone asks me this question, I don’t know how to answer. I don’t think I can ever answer this specific question. All I can tell them is that I do have an eating disorder. And that I am trying to heal. That this is a journey with many ups and downs and I’m doing my best to navigate it. 

If you’re ever asked this question, remember that there is no direct correlation between your intelligence and your eating disorder. That having an eating disorder does not make you dumb or stupid. That you are not choosing to live your life like this. 

You are doing your best warrior.

Keep fighting.

You are so smart. 

You can do this!

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