This is an amazing video to really sum up the points of this post friends. There have been many posts floating around the foodie blogger world lately all related to NEDA week…
And I’m not trying to just jump on the bandwagon here. I truly think that being aware of this growing issue is very important. Eating disorders are so often misunderstood and judged as simply a choice or a cry for attention but the real issues are much, much deeper then that.
I have a very hard time looking past peoples judgements of this awful disorder due to lack of understanding, but perhaps that is because I know so much about the psychology behind these disorders and mental illness in general. I will say that I hope you choose to educate yourself rather then make hurtful judgments and comments because an eating disorder is not as simple as someone refusing to eat. Here’s a lil list of factoids for ya to show you just how serious and HARD this illness really is.
Did you know?
- As far as total deaths related to mental illness, eating disorders are the number one killer of adolescent girls. It is estimated that 10% of individuals with [anorexia] will die within 10 years of the onset of the disorder (NEDIC, 2014).
- There are line-ups of emaciated and dying boys and girls to get treatment. We just don’t have enough services to help all of the individuals plagued by this disorder.
- Its not always all about food. Most often it has to do with control. Many individuals use food as their way to control something when they perceive the rest of their lives to be out of their control. Family issues is a common contributing factor to eating disorder tendencies.
- It’s not a female issue. More and more males are being affected as well.
- Those haunted by this disorder are truly haunted. There is a point where rational thought has left the individual and they are simply unable to truly see themselves as sick and unable to fight back the voice (compulsions) that is making them present the disordered behaviours
For more stats and tidbits, visit NEDIC here.
To follow-up that last point, I just want to add that THAT is why you cannot and should not judge an individual inflicted with an eating disorder (or any mental illness). It is not their choice. They have not chosen to harm their bodies in the manner that they do. They are simply not strong enough emotionally to fight back against the obsessive compulsive nature of the disorder.
They are literally in a battle with their own head. Do you know how hard it would be to try to turn your thoughts off? How exhausting that would be? Think about that for a second.
I have a lot of experience with eating disorders….
- I have done research on children’s eating disorders during my first undergrad degree at McMaster University.
- My thesis was on Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
- I have many friends who have and, unfortunately, continue to, suffered with the grips of this disorder.
- And well, I have a secret that I’m finally ready to share with you guys..
I apologize that they are so long (both part 1 and part 2) but that’s because they were difficult for me to record and because they are never scripted. I just let my thoughts flow. Click on the thumbnails for access to the videos. I hope you stick around for the full run through, but I can understand if 20 minutes is too long for you.
And part 2, once again, clicky on the thumbnail. I have held this back for so long not because I’m ashamed of what I went through, because I’m not, but rather, because I have been afraid of what my friends (who I didn’t know through the ordeal) would think of me once they knew. I was afraid that they would think of me differently. Perhaps, they would speak to me differently or feel the need to not say certain things around me if it at all relates to eating disorders or body image related things.
I guess I was afraid to be seen as a victim of sorts because I’m not.
Yes I went through hell and back. Yes, I hit rock bottom in my life, but you know what?
That was ONE part of my life and for it, I’m a much stronger person. As I mentioned in my video, I have grown so much from that experience because I learned more about myself and my abilities during that struggle then I have throughout my whole life.
I am me because of that event. I am me because I made it through. I fought and I fought damn hard. I pulled through. I lived.
Yes, I continue to fight that voice every day because it never fully shuts up no matter how ‘recovered’ one is. He still likes to creep in when I’m vulnerable (like during exam stress) and make me feel small and weak again. When that happens it’s my job now to know that my body gave me a second chance to live and I’m not letting anything take that away from me. I have worked too hard for that.
I also have help. I have my friends and my family there even when they don’t know it to help get me through those tougher times when I’m feeling overwhelmed. For that, I can never give enough thanks.
I also have you guys. This lil blog spot where I can say what I’m feeling is such a release for me and it only makes me even more happy that I can relate to you and help any of you beautiful people in any way. You too are my support system and for that as well, I thank you.
I can only hope that now that you understand my quirks and know that I am here to provide a listening ear to anyone who is struggling and needs help. No one is ever alone! I also hope you all know how much you mean to me. After all, I just spilled the biggest and hardest secret of my life
to the world to you all and I hope that I haven’t scared you away. I’m human just like all of you and have my own struggles and my own demons to deal with. The main point is that I’m trying, forever growing and striving to reach a point where I can finally say….
I hope that this post has resonated with you all and please please please promise me that before you start to form a judgement about anyone with a mental illness, stop and think about why you are doing that. In most cases, you will come to realize that you are judging simply because you don’t understand and we don’t like to feel like we don’t know something.
Much love and thank you again for always being an amazing audience to share my thoughts and feelings with.
Here is an interesting article to read up if you’re interested. Also, never be shy to chatter back at me in the comments.
Pause. Hover over submit. Take a deep breath. Publish. Done.