Welcome to NEDA week! NEDA stands for National Eating Disorder Awareness. This is a cause near and dear to my heart, given I have recovered from anorexia and bulimia. In the past, I have made a post or two on social media trying to raise awareness, and worn a NEDA pin every day. But this year, I wanted to do more. Share stories with even more people. So, several weeks ago I met with the crisis counselor at the high school I work at, and brainstormed ideas with her on what I could do school-wide to raise awareness. She suggested I speak with all the health classes. This is a required course for students, and there is at least one health class every period throughout the day, therefore would be reaching out to a large population of students. I spoke with all four health teachers in the school and now am meeting with all of their classes next week! My speech to them will coincide with their nutrition unit.
I struggled with an eating disorder for about 7 years. It’s difficult to share every detail here, but here it is in a nutshell. When I was 14, I started over-exercising and purging my meals, which quickly became bulimia. At the time, I felt like I wasn’t losing weight fast enough, so I started starving myself while continuing to over-exercise, and the bulimia morphed into anorexia. I had lost an alarming amount of weight in such a short amount of time, my doctor ordered me to participate in zero physical activities. And the first treatment program I was in was an Intensive Outpatient Program. I didn’t have to spend the night, but I was there all day, every day, six days a week. I was also placed with a dietician and psychologists for myself and for my immediate family members. Throughout high school, I ended up in three different programs. When I went to college, I was no longer seeking any form of treatment. It wasn’t easy, but I finally started to live normally again. I was age 21 when I truly felt healthy again, and my body was back to much healthier numbers (in terms of weight, heart rate, blood levels, etc.). There were many times that I felt like I was never going to beat this monster that had become a part of me. But now, I am so proud to say that I continued to fight and won.
At first, it wasn’t easy for me to share my story. I felt a bit ashamed and embarrassed about what I had done to myself and my body for 7 years. But now, I feel it is important for me to speak out. Thousands of eating disorders never get reported because they are never talked about in the first place. The truth is that it is a hard thing to talk about. Any mental disorder is. But it needs to be talked about, and known that no one is alone in this. That’s why I am now making it my goal to educated people on the warning signs, causes, and symptoms. And if you or someone you know is struggling, please seek help. The following website will provide you with great information and resources. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
And always remember: “Your weight is not your worth.”Me with the eating disorder vs. healthy me