NEDAwareness week began yesterday and the message, which NEDA hopes to convey this year is that of, “I had no idea.” The theme of “I had no idea” is significant because it aims to address and alter misconceptions about eating disorders. So many people are unaware of the often devastating mental and physical consequences that eating disorders have on individuals, whether it be on the person suffering from one, or those closest to them. As NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) emphasizes in their mission statement for NEDAwareness week “eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – NOT CHOICES – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.” The ultimate goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is to get a dialogue going amongst individuals about the seriousness of eating disorders and to teach how to support someone who is suffering, or if someone is dealing with an ED themselves, to encourage them to seek help. I have posted below an infographic with some shocking and disheartening statistics about just how many women are plagued today by disordered eating and dissatisfaction with their bodies.
Personally NEDAwareness week is extremely important to me in regard to my own journey towards recovery. This week, last year, was actually the first time that I started to open up, through social media, about my own suffering and the pain I constantly endure because of my ED. I know some people don’t believe that sharing such personal information in this capacity is appropriate, but I think that I have a responsibility to do so and my intentions have always been good and honest. I purely want to bring awareness to the fact that eating disorders are life threatening diseases and that one of the most significant ways to help someone afflicted with an ED is to support them. This is why I have been so vocal about my own struggles. I want to make sure accurate information is being shared, but I also want to feel supported and not judged for being sick. I want others out there who are struggling to know that they are not alone and they don’t have to be, getting healthy and well is possible. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that it is not my fault that I have an ED. I did not choose to get sick and I wouldn’t wish the pain and suffering I have gone through on anyone, however, I am still in recovery and everyday I must choose to fight against ED. Some days are easier than others, but I know I have to persevere so that I can live a worthwhile and fulfilling life. This week I will focus solely on promoting awareness about eating disorders and I encourage everyone to check out NEDA’s website if you want to further your own knowledge. Also please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions, words of wisdom, or even if you need some support. I am here for all of you just like you have been there for me.