I love everything about NEDA week/month! Last year I was sick and posted things about recovery because I thought I was fine (I chuckle at that thought now, ha). I wanted to do more this time around. I shared about a zillion awesome articles, infographics, videos, etc on my Facebook which probably annoyed everyone but oh well. I also took NEDA week itself as a time to share my story which I had never done before. I do frequently post tiny snippets on IG but FB is a completely different story. I wanted to change that even though actually posting was HARD. I ended up doing a wear purple picture each day with an intro part I kept the same through the week and then the second half of the caption I shared my story. Here’s a rundown of the week:
Sunday – Day 1
- First thing’s first, Kim and I made NEDA week challenges for each other during our bible study time. I definitely had “the Ed face” (I’ll have to make a post on it some day oh boy) on when I first read through it. Ed HATED it. Emily wasn’t so happy with certain points either but we promised each other we would do it so I couldn’t back out. Looking back it really was a good thing, even if I’m not much better at drinking milk than I was Day 1.
- These two go together with my dreaded fear of changing cereals and dairy. Kim bought those Cheerios for me so I wouldn’t have an excuse not to get more vitamin D. You better believe I gave her “the Ed face” for that one! I believe I got about two sips of milk in that night. Other than this week I haven’t touched milk once since FV so it’s harder than it looks. I did, however, prove to myself that I can eat cereal other than my beloved Kashi. At least I’ve expanded my food variety a teeny bit.
- This part I posted with each day: My very first #wearpurple selfie to kick off #NEDAwareness week. This years theme is “I had no idea.” I am going to be sharing parts of my own story to go along with the theme and spread awareness this week. It is so important to get others more information about eating disorders so we can provide adequate treatment, erase the stigma, and eradicate eating disorders one person at a time.
- And the “I had no idea” part: I had no idea… that losing a few pounds due to sickness could be fuel to the fire and ultimately help start my battle with this disease.
Monday – Day 2
- I posted a ton of post-its with inspiring messages in the women’s bathrooms at school. It was so fun and I had to be pretty stealthy since I wanted it to be anonymous. Too bad the janitors took them down by the next day and I had to put more up 😦
- I had an ounce more of bravery for my Day 2 post: I had no idea… I would lose so much more than just weight to my eating disorder. Only since being in recovery have I begun to see how much this disease changed my life. I lost friends, trust, health, happiness, faith in God, and more. Even if the weight is most obvious to others, the psychological and emotional effects of eating disorders are just as important to consider as physical ones.
Tuesday – Day 3
- I went all out with the awareness at school. I printed these awesome posters from the NEDA website and hung them up around school. Nobody took those down thankfully 🙂
- Made up and put up a bunch more post-its. This is the last day I took pictures of but I did continue each day I was at school.
- This was absolutely amazing. It was really hard but I am incredibly happy I decided to do a transformation Tuesday and post this photo and caption: I had no idea… that recovery is possible and so beyond worth it. 8 months ago, I was the girl on the left. I let ED thoughts control my life. I was physically weak and mentally in a terrible place. I was dying and I really didn’t care. I thank God that none of the above is true anymore. I have my bad meals, days, and sometimes weeks, however, my worst moments in recovery are nothing compared to when the ED was in full control. I am learning to love myself again. I have light in my eyes. I am happy and blessed to be alive. Recovery is nowhere near easy but it is the best decision you could ever make for yourself. No matter what the ED voice says it IS possible to fully recover!
Wednesday – Day 4
- First up is the tear-inducing message I received from a girl I went to high school with but have never actually spoken to. This and other comments thanking me for sharing my story make opening up and being vulnerable so so worth it.
I had no idea… only 1 in 10 eating disorder sufferers get treatment. I am part of the lucky ten percent. Treatment has saved my life. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today with the awesome team I’m blessed with. Lack of awareness, poor health professional knowledge, and the huge stigma surrounding these disorders all play into why so few get treatment. Let’s take this week to change that.
Thursday – Day 5
I had no idea… that hating my body is not a fact I should simply accept about myself just because it’s all I’ve known since I can remember. I’ll be honest, I don’t love my body now. I am just beginning to head in that direction. It’s a lot of work. The thing is, I know there’s better than how I feel about my body now. I will love it one day. I have hope. Recovery has given me that.
Friday – Day 6
- My mom bought Ovaltine to go in my milk since it has D in it. Somehow that definitely made drinking my milk harder but I pushed through and got closer to finishing.
I had no idea… that I was never alone in my struggles, regardless of what lies the ED fed me. There are 30 million plus Americans who have eating disorders. They come from a variety of backgrounds and make up all religions, genders, ethnicities, ages, economic classes, body types, and walks of life. Eating disorders do not discriminate. If you were like me, and feel alone, please know that you aren’t. There are so many people out there fighting, just like you.
Saturday – Day 7
I had no idea… that many health professionals overlook or misdiagnose eating disorders. The problem here is twofold. First, doctors and other health professionals need more education on eating disorders. They have to be able to see the signs and know what kind of care their patients would benefit from. I’ve had a few bad experiences myself when it comes to talking about it, even with a therapist. At the very least, they should be able to point you in the right direction for treatment even if that isn’t them. The second issue with EDs and health professionals is the nature of the disorders. It’s shameful when you’re stuck in one. It isn’t easy to admit what’s really going on. Awareness is truly helpful in this area because once people realize that they may be sick it gets easier to tell your doctor or therapist. I honestly believe that getting awareness and education will result in more diagnoses and treatment.
Eating disorder awareness week/month ends today, but the need for information, awareness, and learning doesn’t stop here. There are so many ways to get involved whether it be through participating in a NEDA walk, donating, putting fliers up, sharing on social media, or finding out how to support a friend in need. Together we can make a difference and beat eating disorders.
I hope I made a difference this week. Even helping just one person in some way makes it all worthwhile. I have learned a lot about myself this week. I’ve realized that sharing my story is a gift. There has been even more of a fire lit in my heart to help people with eating disorders. I have talked with some strong and inspiring people. I am going to continue spreading awareness and helping others in any way I can until next year!