Its said that if you want to change the world, all it takes is one small act to initiate much more major differences.
Today (June 2) marks the World Eating Disorders Action Day. a day that encourages us all to promote knowledge about eating disorders and encourage those struggling with it to seek treatment. When I think of what I want to tell others about eating disorders, the first thing I think of is that eating disorders can be deadly. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since the age of 17 and its been a tumultuous journey filled with days where I angrily starve myself, gorge on food with tears running down my face at times, obsessively logging calories in a log book, forcing myself to exercise every single day and cutting my forearm, all of which eventually led to suicidal thoughts.
While anorexia is what comes to our mind when we think of eating disorders, it doesn’t mean all women have them. In fact, anorexia isn’t even the most commonly diagnosed form of eating disorder.And because eating disorder are so heavily misrepresented and misunderstood, such as being a “rich white girl’s problem” it’s important for others to know more about this illness in order to gain a better understanding of what other people are going through.
I started my journey blogging about my journey recovering from an eating disorder in 2014. I look at what others have done to advocate eating disorder awareness and recovery and I sometimes think that I pale in comparison. These amazing men and women have and/or raise funds, initiate campaigns, maintain active blogs and social media accounts and write book and poems all to inspire and help those suffering from this illness, yet I’ve done nothing amazing that sparks a major change and when I think about that, I feel a sense of dissonance.
Here I am, preaching about body positivity and wanting to raise awareness about eating disorder recovery but I’m barely doing any amazing feats and barely inspiring people. So what exactly have I done?
- Started a blog about my journey recovering from an eating disorder and promoting body positivity
- 2 posts of which are interviews done with women who I follow on Instagram
- Run an Instagram and Twitter account dedicated to supplement my blog
- Volunteered once at a women’s organization and provided suggestions on revamping their body image program.
But now that I think about it, all these little things are something. I’ve taken action to raise awareness in my own ways within the limits of the available time and resources I have. I may not have gather thousands of followers on my social media platforms, but I know that somewhere out there, there is one person reading something I’ve blogged about and decided that he/she will choose to continue fighting another day instead of giving up.
There are so many ways you can take up to show your support for people struggling with this illness. Help a friend, talk or listen, write an essay, donate some funds, take part in campaigns. We may not be able to change the world in a day, but all it takes is one small action which can make a big difference in someone else’s life.
Do your part in raising awareness about eating disorders and helping to reduce and eventually end the stigma associated with it by taking the pledge here and sharing nine truths about eating disorders. Here’s my list of facts I want you to know:
- Eating disorders do not come in one size. They come in all shapes and sizes. I’m not skinny, but I have one.
- Eating disorders sometimes isn’t just about weight loss. Some people develop eating disorders in order to establish control over something negative in their life.
- The most common type of eating disorder affecting many people right now is called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
- Anorexia typically begins at or just after puberty. Bulimia occurs in slightly older females, typically around 18. I developed bulimia-like behaviors at the age of 20.
- People in certain professions, such as dancers and models are more likely to develop eating disorders as compared to others.
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. In other words, you are more likely to die if you suffer from an eating disorder than if you suffer from depression.
- Pregnant women with eating disorders have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes. Their babies are also at increased risk of developing neurological impairments and neuropsychiatric diseases.
- A “wait-and-see” approach to helping someone with an eating disorder does not help. It only delays recovery.
- Everyone fighting an eating disorder is brave.