Translating Ed’s talk

Translating Ed’s talk

Ed Says U Said - Eating Disorder Translator by June Alexander and Cate Sangster

Ed Says U Said – Eating Disorder Translator by June Alexander and Cate Sangster

Feel misunderstood? Ed Says U Said – Eating Disorder Translator can help you understand why. 

Even if you think you don’t know anyone with an eating disorder, chances are that you do. Ed Says U Said provides insights and clues on how to beat a deadly illness at its game.

Eating disorders are about much more than food. They are about thoughts. Bully thoughts. An eating disorder is like the worst bully you can think of in the schoolyard, but this bully hides in the mind. This invisible bully’s impact extends far and wide, like a spider spinning a web to catch its prey. It goes beyond manipulating and debilitating the mind of the person with the eating disorder (commonly referred to as ‘ED’) – to everyone in the family and friendship circle.

Eating disorders are not a choice. They are biologically based mental illnesses that invade every aspect of life, including our thoughts, sense of self, behavior and relationships. Frequently, family and friends – and even health professionals – have no idea what to say or how to respond. No wonder eating disorders, besides having the highest death rate of all mental illnesses, are among the most difficult illnesses to treat.

Co-author Cate Sangster and I share our experiences, and those of hundreds of other survivors, in Ed Says U Said to shed light and help unravel this language confusion. Carers also share insights. Using avatars and easy to understand social messaging language, the insights illustrate why and how eating disorder thoughts play havoc with communication throughout the course of the illness:

  • From the emergence of signs or symptoms that something might be wrong;
  • During diagnosis and treatment; and
  • Throughout recovery.

Everybody involved can feel hurt, angry and exasperated at being misunderstood.

Ed Says U Said presents dialogue between eating disorder sufferers, their carers – parents, partners, friends and siblings – and healthcare providers to explain how ED influences the interpretation.  Simple, well-intentioned conversation like “you are looking so well” can be wildly misunderstood by a person with an eating disorder – much to the dismay of the person who says it. The ED bully’s translation will be “you are looking so fat”, causing immediate feelings of guilt and shame – the opposite to what was intended.  Ed Says U Said breaks down the language barriers in many aspects of daily life and offers suggestions on how to defuse and limit ED’s interference.

Ed Says U Said explains the language of eating disorders and facilitates recovery. Australia and NZ click here.


Leave a Reply