Eating disorder awareness is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I first developed a pattern of restrictive eating when I was around 11 years old. I had never heard of eating disorders, I first remember reading a story in a magazine when I was around 13 about a teenage girl who struggled with anorexia. I thought, “I could never do that”, little did I know I was suffering at the time.
All I saw was sensationalized pieces in the media – low weights, calories, size zero – I didn’t see those signs in myself, no one else did either. Eating Disorders come in all shapes and sizes, just like sufferers. One thing that is true across all EDs is that they are extremely dangerous. I didn’t know this when I first starting cutting out food groups and counting each calorie eaten and burned. Dieting seemed normal; I saw ads on tv, heard adult talking about it and read articles in magazines and newspapers. I started out dieting here and there and it got stronger and stronger. I heard of anorexia but I thought it only affected college age girls, I wasn’t even a teenager yet. I learned through years of my own research and the last year and a half of treatment and recovery that eating disorders do not discriminate. EDs affect men, women, children, people of all races and sexualities, classes and cultures, it doesn’t matter who you are though – you deserve to seek help.
I often think how different my life would be if someone had spoke to me about eating disorders, honestly and told me all the dangers. It may have made no real difference, but it could have saved me – and my loved ones – a decade of pain and sadness. I want to dedicate my life to raising awareness about Eating Disorders – we all know someone who suffers and we all have the ability to help.
Education is the most powerful tool. Knowing what to say and what not to say can save a life. Silence kills, so let’s raise our voices up and fight.