We're nearing the end of #EatingDisorderAwarenessWeek and one of my goals for 2021 was to be more intentional at bringing awareness and support to the causes that matter most to me. Seeing as I forgot this was ED awareness week, that may be a goal better suited for a year that isn't so mentally exhausting. But rather than not share anything at all, I want to share the words I wrote last year.
Can I share a story with you that I’ve never shared before? It’s about an eating disorder, so please take caution if you think you might be triggered. It’s taken me a long time to look at myself in the mirror like I am in the photo above. Through all of my teenage years, I would spend hours in front of the mirror, pulling at my skin and sucking in my stomach to see what I *could* and *should* look like, if I just tried a little harder. From the ages of 12 to 23 I was obsessed with how my body looked, but I didn’t think I had an eating disorder. I had convinced myself that because I couldn’t make myself purge, that I was simply an active person with a picky palate. I exercised excessively, about 2-3 times a day. I took a variety of diet pills (that later manifested into ethereum nodosum) and convinced myself I didn’t like certain foods that had too much fat/sugar/carbs. Every single moment was occupied by thinking of what I could do that would burn the most calories, or what I could eat that didn’t have a lot of calories. My mom found the diet pills in my room and didn’t know how to talk to me about it, so one day she just yelled at me, “YOU BETTER NOT BE TAKING FUCKING DIET PILLS” To which I yelled back, “I’M NOT.” I don’t blame her for not knowing what to do. I didn’t know what to do. I feel for her. We didn’t grow up talking about this, but we can start now and advocate for each other. We comment on appearance more often than we should. We bring up someone’s weight as if we’re asking about their day. Please, can we stop? Most instances of weight loss and gain are due to circumstances out of our control: ED, addiction, cancer, mental health, thyroid, and the list goes on. People don’t deserve to suffer in silence, and comments only keep from others only keep them silent longer. If you’re suffering, or you suspect you someone who is—please look into the resources at The NEDIC to learn how about how you can help yourself, or someone close to you. I see you and I’m here for you.
To anyone who doesn't understand... please take it from me. This is not some little obsession we have with looking good—it's a real mental illness that took up at least 70% of my thoughts every single day for over 10 years.
If you are someone who is currently battling an Eating Disorder, please know you are not alone, you are not weak, you CAN get through this, you CAN have a healthy relationship with food and your body. If you need someone to talk to or an ear to listen, I am here for you and so are the professionals at NEDIC - National Eating Disorder Information Centre.