This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week, which is historically the week I post the most on social media about the importance of eating disorder treatment, advocacy, and prevention.
The goal of NEDA Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. This year’s theme is It’s Time to Talk About It and NEDA is encouraging everyone to get screened.
Many people know that I am very open about having struggled with an eating disorder and been in recovery for the past 9 (!) years. I now also work as a therapist who specialises in eating disorder treatment and many know that I post constantly about topics related to eating disorders, body image, Health at Every Size, fat shaming/stigma, etc. all over social media. In essence, I am no stranger to talking about eating disorders, but I remember a time when I did not talk about them. Actually, I remember 5 years when I did not talk about them and would not admit to the fact that I had an eating disorder.
The day I asked my parents (who are my recovery heroes) for help and consequently discovered that my unhealthy relationship with food and my body was in fact a diagnosable disorder changed my life. Using my voice changed my life. Then, talking to others about my experience in recovery and connecting with others in recovery changed my life. So yes, I agree that it’s time to talk about eating disorders.
Talking about eating disorders saves lives. It gets people the treatment and help they deserve. It connects people to support and resources. It minimises the shame and stigma around disordered eating. It makes people not feel so alone in their struggles. It helps those in recovery not feel broken and hopeless. And it makes recovery possible.
Some of the most meaningful moments in my life have been when someone has connected with me in some way or another after hearing my story. Sometimes it has led them to share their story with me, ask for support and help for themselves, or ask for resources for a friend. These moments give me hope that things can get better, that I can make a difference, and that the simple act of talking about eating disorders matters.
So yes, I encourage people to talk about eating disorders.
End the taboo.
Seek and give support.
Share stories of struggle and success in safe spaces.
Becuase it matters.