Those words, around me, can get you into a whole world of trouble. You might as well wander a land mine field blindfolded and hope for the best. It is an eruption waiting to happen, walking barefoot in the dark in a room of legos; it is inevitable that something bad will be the outcome of using those words.
Whether it is the loss of a child or loved one, being diagnosed with cancer, or talking to someone with a mental illness, it is very gutsy to use the words “I understand”.
“I understand,” is something that people with an eating disorder do not want to hear. “I got sick once for a week and lost weight.” “I fasted before.” All of these are not ok. Unless you, personally have struggled, battled, suffered, with an eating disorder and the dark hell, and torment it resides inside of you, then no, you do not understand. The devil on your shoulder that criticizes, judges, dictates, demands, guilts, defends, and antagonizes.
“I hate, hate grocery shopping.” “I understand.” Hah, no, no you don’t. The aspects you hate are seeing people you know, having to make polite chit chat, having to dodge in and out of people, spending money, and having to deal with people. The aspects I hate are the picking up food, putting it back, picking up, putting back. Reading labels, putting it back, counting calories which leads to miles, putting it back. Visualizing how difficult it will be to purge the foods I’m buying and dealing with my anxiety, shaking, panic attack, and sweats. After over an hour of wandering up one aisle, down another, mentally freaking out, I left with fresh fruits and plain Greek yogurt.
Do not tell me you “understand”, when no, no you do not; for your sake, I hope you never do.