Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2014

It's Eating Disorder Awareness Week again over here in the UK [and apparently in the US at the same time this year too!]. I feel like EDAW gets overlooked a lot compared to many of the awareness weeks and days out there (I know the University of Manchester seemed to forget about it every year whilst managing to raise awareness of a whole pile of other issues... ahem, personal gripe there), and I have been known to forget about it in the past, but it's an issue near and dear to my heart and hopefully this one little post will give someone some awareness and insight into the which you can find here , apologies if I cover some of the same stuff again.
horror that is an eating disorder. If just one person learns something then I'll be happy. I also wrote a post about this last year,

The theme this year, as set forwards by b-Eat (the UK's leading eating disorder charity) is Sock it to Eating Disorders, which some of you may remember from last year.

I shared some facts about eating disorders last year, but it's worth re-iterating.
Eating Disorders can affect everyone, regardless of background, age, gender or weight.
Statiscics suggest around 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder male and female.
Anorexia and Bulimia are not the only eating disorders out there. EDNOS and Binge Eating Disorder (currently are very real eating disorders as well.
Eating disorders kill. They have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental disorders, with mortality pretty much the same across all EDs (around 4-5%)
You cannot tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking at them. Ignore what the media wants to tell you, most ED sufferers are not emaciated waifs. In fact most sufferers are normal weight or overweight.
Eating disorders are caused by BOTH genetic and environmental factors.
Recovery is possible. Research into recovery suggests that around 46% of anorexia nervosa patients recover and a further third improve greatly, with bulimia the percentage of fully recovered patients is 45% with a further 27% making considerable improvement

And now for the really difficult part of this post. I am still not sure whether this bit will actually get published (as I'm writing this draft) or if it's published whether it will stay online for very long, but as it's EDAW and the Time To Talk campaign is still going strong, I guess I should...

I have an Eating Disorder.
I've been given several labels, and put all across the spectrum – EDNOS, bulimia, anorexia purging subtype – but whatever name you give to it (personally, I feel I fall more under a bulimia nervosa diagnosis) it's an eating disorder. And it is hell. I've been struggling with it since 16, and while there have been times when things have been better, it has been an ever-present factor in my life. I've suffered a lot of effects from it, hair loss, my skin is bad, I have horrible circulation in my hands and struggle with the winter weather, thanks to binging and purging my teeth and my throat/voice are ruined. You wouldn't think of it straight away but the stomach acid in your throat all the time can really do a number on your vocal chords, my voice is much deeper and rougher than it used to be, and my singing is worse. Plus acid reflux and weight gain. Not to mention all the time, money and experiences I've lost out on thanks to an eating disorder. It's not fun, or glamorous and actually it's something I'm really ashamed of.
In short this is slowly but systematically destroying my life while I am trapped in a circle of binge-purge-restrict. It's not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I really wish I could end this with how I beat bulimia, or at least how I'm kicking ass, but honestly right now I'm struggling pretty badly. Hopefully next year I'll be posting about how I recovered, one can only hope.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who might be, please reach out. This disease kills, but there is help out there, and recovery is possible. No one needs to suffer alone. And if anyone ever, ever, tells you that you're not thin enough to have an eating disorder, I find a swift but brutal application of force to the reproductive organs is a good cure.

These are just a few resources out there if you or anyone needs help:
b-Eat (they have a helpfinder directory, online forums, live chats and lots and lots of useful information for sufferers and those who care about/for them. Plus an area specifically geared towards young people. They have their own list of support links
Men Get EDs Too (this is a website focused around men with eating disorders, both to raise awareness and support) 
Mind (UK Mental Health charity) 
NEDA (this is the American National Eating Disorders Association, with resources and information for those based in the states) 
Overeaters Anonymous (Have both UK and USA based branches and offer support both to those with issues overeating and other problems such as anorexia or bulimia) 
The Butterfly Foundation (an Australian based website for support and information on Eating Disorders) 
Kati Morton (a therapist who works with eating disorders in the US, she has loads of helpful information and makes youtube videos full of advice, recovery tips and support) 
Something Fishy - wealth of information and resources about Eating Disorders, including sufferers real life stories and experiences. Also has forums to connect with others, learn more or just pass the time.
(remember, your local GP is always the first port of call if you wish to seek treatment for an Eating Disorder. And if the first GP you see is useless, please keep trying.)

And please, if you have just a little spare change, consider donating it to beat [or the NEDA in the US] so that more people out there can get help. I know I am.

1 comment:

  1. Be strong through your struggles! You will come out a winner and if you can help other people that makes you a hero!


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