National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is from February 25th-March 3rd, and I couldn't miss the chance to continue to share my voice and spread awareness about eating disorders and the realities of people living with them.
There are a lot of different ways that people in the community share their stories to raise awareness, and I think they're all important. This year is the first time I've participated in the awareness week, and I feel as though I've already shared some aspects of the negative parts of my eating disorder. I don't believe as though it's important to share a before/after photo because it perpetrates the idea that all eating disorders involve weight loss (they don't) and it continues the stereotypes that there's only one type of eating disorder (there's not). Eating disorders do not discriminate, they happen to all people regardless of race, gender, age, size, or sexuality. They can and do impact 30 million Americans, and chances are, you know someone who has been affected by an eating disorder.
This is why we need to talk about them and continue to keep the conversation going about them. Eating disorders thrive and survive in shame and silence. There is no room for them when we talk about them--which is why it's so important to continue to use our voices.
Project HEAL has started yet another brilliant hashtag for this week, #myhealthybodycan. I'm really inspired by this, because of all the ways that people in this community spread awareness throughout this week, I'm feeling called to reflect on the positive side of my journey in recovery. My body has certainly changed a lot in the last 5 years, and especially more so throughout my eating disorder and recovery, but it has gotten me here and I want to celebrate that.
My healthy body...
Has given me energy to be and live and do.
Has space for all emotions--not just positive ones, and can feel everything fully.
Has given me space to rediscover who Charlotte is, without hiding behind the eating disorder.
Has increased my passion and drive to help others.
Has allowed me to live in my favorite city in the world, and to explore it.
Has allowed me to break free from the longest writer's block I've ever had.
Has inspired SO much creativity and helped me find my voice again.
Has strengthened my relationships with my friends, family, and boyfriend.
Has been integral to me being in school, pursuing my dreams.
Has helped me break the silence about eating disorders and the stigma around mental illness.
Has supported me through my times of sickness and relapse, and hasn't given up on me.
Has fought for me to recover, even when it's uncomfortable, even when it's painful.
Has showed me what is truly important.
Is helping me heal.
Is the true me.
I am so inspired by the amazing eating disorder community, and think it is so important and necessary that everyone brings their voices together during this week. It is my sincere hope that through my blog and by speaking up, I am helping raise awareness by bringing my voice and personal experiences to the conversation.
For those of you who are struggling in silence, know that you are not alone. You are seen and your struggles are valid. It is SO terrifying to speak up and talk about eating disorders. I hope that this week brings more awareness and support to all the aspects of eating disorder recovery. I hope that it helps those who are unable to speak up, from fear of stigma, or rejection. I hope that there comes a day where we live in a world without eating disorders. The conversation starts here.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and need help, know that there are SO many resources there for you. Check out Project HEAL here, and NEDA here. They are both fantastic organizations that can point you in the right direction for treatment, support, and hope for recovery. If you ever need anyone to talk to, know that I am here. You are not alone. There is hope, and recovery is possible.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.