National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018
Today marks the first day of NEDA's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018, which will run until Sunday, March 4th.
While the above-mentioned statistic mentions the many million Americans that struggle, others across the world are no exception. In fact, eating disorders are not race or gender-specific; they can affect anyone and everyone.
I ask one thing of you as we head into this publicized week of spreading awareness: keep an open mind. Outward appearances are not indicative of internal struggles. This is true for eating disorders, and mental and physical health alike.
We do not need to perpetuate the myth that EDs only affect thin people. Your size, shape, and weight are irrelevant when it comes to severity of suffering. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle; how dare we validate or prioritize some people over others?
For NEDA week 2018, focus on education. Speak up when others are misinformed. Act kindly towards the vulnerable youth. Rather, act kindly towards everyone. Let go of the preconceived notions of "good vs. bad" and "healthy vs. unhealthy" when it comes to food and food groups.
And reach out. If you are struggling, please reach out. You are not alone.
My wish for all of you is that you feel beautiful in your own skin. Even if this feeling is temporary, or only lasts a split second. You ARE beautiful.
And you matter. You all matter. Push aside size, shape, and weight and think of your SKILLS. Think of your QUALITIES. Think of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS and SUCCESSES. Think of how RESILIENT you are.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week can be just another promotional campaign, or we can really act to break the stigma and be kinder to ourselves and others. If I can help you or someone you know in any way, please let me know.
Let us remember that eating disorders not "phases" and they are not "a trend". Eating disorders, having the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, are serious and should be taken seriously. Do not make that mistake.