I know that I typically make posts about fashion and beauty and this post greatly deviates greatly from that. However, above all else, I run a lifestyle blog and I feel that this post is important for all who follow my blog.
February 1 -7 is national eating disorder awareness week. Eating disorders can be identified through Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating and a variety of other disordered patterns of thinking surrounding food. This week is meant to spread awareness about the dangers eating disorders have on the body, mind and spirit.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder (ANAD) 25 per cent of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. I was a part of this staggering statistic.
Let me clear up one of the most common misconceptions about eating disorders – eating disorders are not solely about vanity or trying to look like a supermodel. Some people are more affected by the media than others, but for some, there are other factors that contribute, creating this perfect storm. Such factors include perfectionism, genetic factors, a history of abuse or trauma and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
I am someone who battled an eating disorder in silence for far too long. My life had been plagued by obsessive calorie counting, frequent trips to the bathroom after meals and taking my anger and frustrations that came as result from means beyond my control out on my body, because I thought that was the only thing I could control. My eating disorder intensified when I went away to university and it became a concern not only for me, but for my friends and family as well.
I denied that there had been a problem because I was part of the society that felt that eating disorders were not a “serious mental disorder” and could be easily solved if I just put my mind to it. However, there was an inevitable transgression where my physical and mental health were stapled and I knew that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I had to find the will to change.
Seeking professional help was one of the best things I could have done for myself. It allowed me to talk about what I was feeling rather than take it out on my body and I was also able to gain access to the proper resources that could help me heal. Even just being able to freely talk to my family and friends about how I was feeling was a huge step. From this, I learned that it was okay to be vulnerable and admit that I was not put together every single second of the day. It was okay to break down in a healthy way.
I contributed the success of my healing to distancing myself from the toxicity in my life. I removed myself from the “friends” who took pleasure in seeing me fail, the boyfriends whose hands harmed more than healed, the voices in my head telling me that I was not enough. I left these things behind and that alone significantly changed the condition of my eating disorder.
In the picture above, I am holding a picture of the symbol for eating disorder recovery. To honour those who have recovered from or are still fighting an eating disorder, show this symbol for the duration of Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Do this because everyone knows someone who has gone through this fight. Let them know that they are not alone and they are more than their illness.
Use this week to promote body positivity and recognize that every body is different. Use this as an opportunity to thank your body for getting you through the day and not falling apart when life gets tough. Instead of criticizing your body for what it doesn’t give you, try to be grateful for what it can.
One of the reasons why I made the decision to do the #100DaysofFashion challenge is because it is a way for me to apologize to my body for the way I have treated it after all these years. I was so ashamed of my body that I tried to hide it, shame it, will it away. But I realized that my body is the one thing that never left me, no matter how badly I mistreated it or how much I hated it. And that is more than I can about most people in my life. This challenge is a way for me to be proud of my body and lift it up rather than criticize it and tear it apart little by little.
If anybody thinks that my #100DaysofFashion challenge is egotistical, I really could care less. I would rather be labelled a narcissist than spend any more years hating myself.
To anyone who is dealing privately or publicly with an eating disorder, I want you to know that you are not a failure. While I am still trying to make that ideal my reality, I am getting better everyday and strongly believe that recovery is a very real possibility.
Surround yourself with people who are going to be there for you and know that there is no shame in seeking help. Just realize that being diagnosed with an eating disorder is not a flaw in character: just chemistry.