For the first day of NEDA Awareness Week- I posted the following to my personal Instagram account. Easily the scariest decision ever and I think I went back and forth on actually posting it about a million times. However, I realized, didn’t want anyone else to feel alone or feel like they had to hide that they too were struggling. We all have our moments, we all have doubts and I thought if I could share my big secret, maybe we could start to normalize mental health. The result? An outpouring of love and support.
You know how we all like to pretend we’ve got our shit together? Well I’m calling bullshit and in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I’m coming clean: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since I was 15.
Although my Instagram would have you believe I’m carelessly traveling from coast to coast living the dream, there’s more to the story. The last 3 years have consisted of multiple rounds of intensive treatment, endless fights with my insurance company, plenty of mental breakdowns and multiple work leaves. And although each day in Recovery still holds its struggles, I can proudly say I am the healthiest & happiest I have ever been.
For the last 9 years I have struggled, and for so long the idea of having an eating disorder never even crossed my mind simply because I was “not skinny enough”. And yet, I was exhibiting every and all behaviors of an eating disorder. It is that core belief, that eating disorders look a certain way, that there are so many individuals failing to seek proper treatment for such a serious mental illness.
I beg of you- take this stuff seriously. Ask questions. Learn about warning signs and symptoms of eating disorders. And talk to those you think may be struggling. Remember that eating disorders do not discriminate: male, female, young, old, black, white, curvy, skinny- it doesn’t matter. Eating disorders are more than a body type and they are certainly more than a “food problem”. They are a serious mental illness and they need our attention.
My hope for NEDA Awareness Week is for people to see that eating disorders don’t have a specific body type, that recovery isn’t just about eating more food & if we start a conversation about it, we can easily support those around us struggling with an eating disorder.