I had a great conversation with my dietician the other day and it clarified a few things for me. I told my dietician that she (meaning the ED professional community) needs to come up with a better term than 'mental illness'. The stigma attached to that terminology is too damaging. It really makes no difference what it actually describes - the general community associate the term with psychotic behaviour. It immediately conjures up an image of someone who is a danger to the community and therefore cannot be trusted. True that someone with an ED is inherently (and seriously) a danger to themselves - but I resent the implication that I must be 'mental' to have a 'mental illness'.
My dietician made the comment 'but you don't have to be the one to fix it'. But quite frankly I think I do. I have a voice and I have experience that I think is worth something.
And I find it frustrating when people who are not personally affected by anorexia tell me how I should feel about the term. I find it condescendingly paternalistic that I should be told to accept a label simply because some professional came up with it. It is like an explorer naming a country without asking the current inhabitants what the country is actually called.
It may be a perfectly exactly descriptive name - but the stigma is too damaging. And stigma is everything. It is what the uninformed use as fact to pass judgement. The media encourage it and the masses repeat it and retweet it.
I'm not mental, or even unintelligent. I refuse to be categorised, pigeon-holed and labelled. I don't like the name someone else chose for my country. So I'm not going to call it that.