With NEDAW fast approaching, I thought it would make sense to post something in line with the whole idea of spreading awareness, and everything else the next week will undoubtedly involve. I am a huge believer in spreading awareness about issues that are seen as ‘taboo’, but it can cause a lot of anxiety in the eating disorder ‘community’, as we brace ourselves for the triggering and invalidating posts that will flood our screens for 7 days. If you are unaware, next week (26 February – 4 March), is N. Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It is an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevelance of eating disorders, and show people they do not have to face this by themselves.
The popluar phrase, ‘Everybody knows somebody’, is a quote that has really stuck with me since first being diagnosed. It’s a pretty terrifying and reassuring thing to hear (I know, two opposing ideas). Everybody. No matter their age, gender, whatever, they know somebody. You know somebody.
The world of eating disorders is still very stigmatised. They can still be perceived as a ‘diet’ or a ‘choice’. Some people view them as something that can just be snapped out of, or something that will be cured if you eat a full meal. There are also physical stereotypical points, that always seem to be portrayed across the media and film industry. They tend to leave out the balding hair, freezing, bruised skin and totally isolating yourself from all of humanity. I suppose it isn’t very glamorous .
The reality of an eating disorder is different for every sufferer. It is not an illness that morphes identically into each of our lives, representing the same characteristics no matter who it effects. Everybody mind is different – therefore a mental disorder will develop differently and result in different symptoms. The ‘textbook’ anorexic doesn’t really exist, because nobody’s struggle is the same. I’m scared of red meat, while red meat may be a safe food for somebody I met in hospital. Just as easily as potatoes were a safe food for me, but have been a fear food of others I know.
When hearing, ‘Everybody knows somebody’, a lot of peoples minds may dart to the most petite woman or man they know. However, that may often be misleading. Many people suffering with an eating disorder have no physical distinguishing factors.
Please be safe and mindful this next week, for all those who’s live have been effected by an eating disorder.