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Posts Tagged ‘Eating Disorder Awareness Week’

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin.

I just need to eat a sandwich.

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder, I’m just greedy.

I make myself throw up for vanity reasons, I just don’t want to get fat.

Upon finally reading through my emails which I’d avoided doing for weeks, I found an e-newsletter from B-eat about Eating Disorder Awareness week. I’d wanted to blog about it but having lost motivation for everything, including this blog, I totally forgot.

Eating Disorder Awareness week started Monday, so I started to read about it, I watched this video made for awareness by the University of East Anglia, and spotted the not-your-stereotypical Eating Disordered girl. I went to the B-eat website to see if she had a story because I wanted to know, was she Anorexic, Bulimic, a Binge Eater or did she have something else? So I went to recovery stories and was disappointed with what I read.

Three Anorexia recovery stories, all from the same age group, all from a female perspective. These stories will help inspire hope in individuals suffering from Anorexia, but for those with Bulimia, EDNOS, and Binge-Eating Disorder, I was left wondering, where are all of us?

I could really use some inspiration right now. A recovery story about binge-eating and weight struggles would be much appreciated, but all I can read about is Anorexia survivors. And what about males suffering with Eating Disorders, where is their representation? Are we all lurking in the shadows somewhere, hoping someone else will come forward and speak out about our struggles so we don’t have to?

I took part in a documentary to spread awareness of binge eating and poor body image, had I known when I was 10, 11, 15, 17 that there was such a thing as binge eating and even disordered eating, I would have been able to help myself much sooner instead of finally realising at 19 that I had a problem that is the most common yet the least talked about Eating Disorder.

I kind of figured I’d done my bit with the documentary. But I can’t stand the thought of people like me, men and women, teenagers and adults and even children who will read something like these recovery stories and think I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I don’t have Anorexia. Or I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin. There will be people thinking I’m not Bulimic because I don’t throw up after every meal, and that’s not Bulimia, is it? Because these are misconceptions floating around about all Eating Disorders, and Eating Disorders awareness projects are the perfect chance to clear these misconceptions up, by illustrating real people’s journeys through all types of Eating Disorders.

I’m so pleased that some women may read the recovery stories and realise that they need help, realise that they’re not alone in their struggle with Anorexia, and that’s fantastic. I truly believe you have to know you have an Eating Disorder before you can fight it. We are moving forward, the myths surrounding mental health are slowly waning as more and more people speak out about their terrible experiences with people who have said “why don’t you just eat a sandwich?” or in my case “why don’t you eat 3 meals a day and snack on fruit?”

Every recovery story posted on the internet, in a newspaper or magazine or even told to a friend is one step towards a greater understanding of Eating Disorders, and one more person in the world gaining the support that they need. And since Eating Disorders are so similar in their misuse of food and their hatred of the body and self, then shouldn’t all Eating Disorders be taken into account when raising awareness?

What do you think, as an Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eater, EDNOS sufferer or any other Eating Disorder sufferer, are you well represented?

Hayley Emma

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For 3 days I’ve been trying to write a post about how fat people are portrayed in the media. Body image is crucial in understanding the world of disordered eating and I cannot for the life of me put into words how I feel about fat. I’ve said before in I’m a Mean Girl that having an ED tends to split your personality.

Part of me absolutely loathes fat. I hate it, it’s disgusting and it makes the person disgusting. How could they lose that control? Did they ever have it? Am I meant to pity them?

And then the normal side of my brain that is compassionate and understanding realises that fat people – including myself – aren’t asking for pity, but want empathy. Being fat in a world where people are praised for being thin is difficult. Fat, whether you like it or not, is viewed as a personality flaw – it’s down to lack of will power and loss of control. I’m not writing this because it’s my view, I’m writing this because it’s the message I feel we’re being sent.

The first thing my therapist asked me to do in my first CBT session was to write ‘what would life be like if I didn’t have an Eating Disorder?’

For the week that I was given I couldn’t think of anything to write. I’d never actually contemplated this, because 2 months before I didn’t know I had eating issues. I’d thought if I wasn’t fat then life would be perfect. But eating never really mattered, because it was the fat problem I wanted to solve, not the eating disorder.

I ended up writing in my bed in the early hours of the morning before my next session. I was crying because I’d looked at my forearm and it was bigger than I wanted it to be. From my forearm I knew that I was putting the 3 stone back on that I had tried so hard to lose. I had lost control of my food intake, was now back to my chocolate addiction and I was a failure. I was disgusting.

So what would life be like, if I didn’t have any eating problems? When I think of being free from my binge eating and overeating I think of being slim. If I was this size without binge eating and overeating, would life be better? No: Because I’d still be fat.

Encouraging positive body image should be more of a priority in tackling the obesity issue. I can’t help but feel Binge Eating Disorder and overeating aren’t publicised as much as it should be because of the representation of obesity. Do they think we’d use it as an excuse? Yeah, some people would I’m sure, but being fat in a skinny world is more likely to make anyone abusing food want to stop.

I thought my views of fatness were clear but I’m not so sure after I struggled to write this post. Help me out guys, what’s your views?

Emma

🙂

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It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week guys!

From the 20th – 26th Beat – the UK leading Eating Disorder charity is helping to raise awareness of the horrible-ness of EDs. This is great! I wish there was something going on in my area but there isn’t really, although I’m contemplating going to this conference in Cardiff. We shall see.

So for this week I’m going to be talking solely about Eating Disorders.

I wasn’t quite sure what to write and then I stumbled across a post on the Beat website about BED.

This person wrote everything I was worried about when I talked to the Uni counsellor about my weight and how obsessed I was with it – do they think I’m just making excuses? I hate my relationship with food but I’ve only heard of Anorexia and Bulimia. I don’t think I can ever get over this, etc.

I never realised that there was a Binge Eating Disorder, it was only after the Uni counsellor referred me to an Eating Disorder service that I actually looked into it. My first point of call was the internet (a book? What the hell is a book?!) and it was NHS choices. I read the definition of Binge Eating Disorder:

Binge eating is an eating disorder where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis.

People who binge eat consume very large quantities of food over a short period of time and they often eat even when they are not hungry. Binges are often planned and can involve the person buying “special binge foods”.

Binge eating usually takes place in private with the person feeling that they have no control over their eating. They will often have feelings of guilt or disgust after binge eating. These feelings highlight underlying psychological issues, such as:

  • depression      – feelings of extreme sadness that last for a long time
  • anxiety      – a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can range from mild to severe

Depression and anxiety may be both a cause and an effect of binge eating.

Binge eating is a mental health condition, but it is also triggered by the effect that the binge eating cycle has on the body.

As soon as I read this I felt uttlerly stupid. How could I not have known that this was my problem?

I will tell you why. How would I have known if I had not been told? I just thought I was fat. I had heard of binge eating but never really thought about it. I was on LighterLife, I was only drinking 4, 125 calorie meals a day: I couldn’t have Binge Eating Disorder.

But when I read all of the NHS choices page and then visited the Beat website and then read blogs and accounts and searched for books… it all became pretty clear that maybe I wasn’t just born without will power. I had a problem, and I had to take steps to overcome it.

The NHS website confirmed that many of these fat fighting programs are disregarding a very serious problem that the contestants may have. Not all people who are overweight have an eating disorder but it’s worth being aware that some of them might do and might be clueless about it. Which is where awareness comes in and saves the day! If a person is aware that they have these difficulties – binge-eating, compulsive overeating – then they can choose what steps they want to take to improve their lives.

I cannot stress how important ED awareness is!

Emma

🙂

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