If you don’t already know this week, February 23-March 1, is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! This is something that is near and dear to my heart. I apologize in advance that this post lacks my usual (not so funny, but hey, I try!) humor and joke-cracking, but like I said, it’s important to me and I hope I can have an impact on its importance to you.
It kills me how uneducated the general population is when it comes to eating disorders. An eating disorder is not just about preoccupations with food and weight; they aren’t about just food. They are so much more complex than that. Recently, there have been a lot of studies talking about the genetic component to EDs which can cause people to be pre-disposed.
The complexity of them is what really interests me. There is no black-and-white when it comes to them. Eating disorder causes, intensities, and practices differ from person to person. I get SO heated when people say “just eat!” If it were that easy eating disorders wouldn’t be an issue in the first place, now would they? You can’t simply tell someone with an ED that they need to eat more. It doesn’t work like that. Heck they may want to change SO badly, and would give anything to be rid of the disorder. However, since they are such complicated psychiatric disorders, it’s not that simple.
Anorexia nervosa, one type of ED, has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. If this doesn’t tell you how serious they are, I don’t know what will.
I really hope that I can do my part to remove the taboo that surrounds EDs. Not talking about them doesn’t help. It just makes those who have them that much more ashamed and less likely to get help.
This year’s theme is “I had no idea”. So many people are unaware of the consequences of eating disorders, not to mention the drastic increase in them! The NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) urges everyone to commit to doing “just one thing”.
What does “just one thing” mean? Simply doing one thing that can make a difference. You don’t need lots of time, money or resources. Participate in just one thing to initiate awareness, education and discussion about eating disorders. Together, we can all have a tremendous impact.
- Tweet a fact about eating disorders
- Post a NEDAwareness week article
- Share NEDAwareness week videos & infographics (http://nedawareness.org/infographics)
- Post the NEDA helpline
I know that as you are reading this you are probably thinking that it would be so great to help, but what would people think? “Would people accuse me of having an eating disorder if I become an advocate? Mmmm, better avoid that situation!”
The only way to remove the taboo is to make an effort to. There should be no shame involved, and it saddens me that there is.
I urge all of you to do JUST ONE THING this week (or beyond if you are an overachiever) that will help remove the taboo that surrounds eating disorders. Together we can make a difference! (Wow, it sounds like I am running for an election… apologies.)
Okay, that was even too dense for me… How about a joke to lighten the mood?
I would LOVE to hear what you to for your “one thing”. Let me know!
Ps. whether you have had an ED, someone you know has, or even if you know ZILCH about them, I strongly suggest reading the book “Gaining: The Truth about Life After Eating Disorders” by Aimee Liu. It is really eye opening, you will learn so much!