Eating Disorder Awareness Week: An Introduction

The next week will be a very special week for Dear Hope; this week, we will see a featured piece every day relating to a topic: eating disorders. Allow me to explain where the idea originated.

ed1

Last fall, I came across a great organization titled Active Minds. Over a decade ago, a wonderful woman named Alison Malmon began this organization after losing her brother, Brian, to suicide. The conversation on mental health needs to become commonplace, thought Alison. Of course, this is not a quote, but rather one of the driving ideologies behind Active Minds. Its purpose, in abbreviated form, is to embed chapters into college campuses, bring together passionate students with the common goal of raising mental health awareness, decrease stigma, and create more accepting, welcoming environments among a demographic where mental illness is rampant.

I started a chapter at my school, and I have loved everything about it over the last year and a half. I have loved being shown the sides of people that would never have emerged had the conversation not been started. I have loved opening myself up emotionally to something that I have never felt fully comfortable with because such an omnipresent stigma exists.

Dear Hope loves to focus on these goals in many different ways, one of which is through personal narrative. Coping: This is Who We Are is such an incredible series because it gives us living, breathing proof that mental illness is so real that it feels tangible. It shows us the true stories behind our loved ones, our acquaintances, and strangers across the globe. There is so much that the surface does not show. And so, the many driving forces behind awareness and reducing stigma, such as Active Minds or Dear Hope, simply want to make what is under the surface come up and gasp an oxygenated breath of relief, free of any shame.

This week, February 21st-27th, is Active Minds’ National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The events occurring on campuses across the United States will range from speakers, to narratives, to panels, to screenings, and far into the realms of creative mental health education. As I organized for our week, I thought, why not include Dear Hope?

So, we gathered narratives, poems, and other creative pieces to showcase those who have identified with struggling with some sort of eating disorder. Some are anonymous, some are identified. Some are narratives, while others are creative pieces. Regardless of the format or identity, we wanted to dedicate an entire week to showcase stories of struggle, self-doubt, and healing within this specific area of mental health. Every area of struggle deserves its highlight, and we at Dear Hope  want to spread the message that no matter what you experience, you should never feel marginalized or alone.

This is our test run; we only have room to grow. Four pieces: four stories of mountains and valleys with all of the details beautifully scribed to evoke emotions of empathy and compassion is just a start. 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States alone identify with struggling with an eating disorder, with many more unreported. Let these narratives be a seed to relate to, to expand upon, and to spread the message that you truly are beautiful and good enough just the way you are. Even though eating disorders go far beyond a conscious dislike for one’s self-image or diet, encouragement such as this is an abbreviation of “I validate your struggle, but want to encourage you that the person you are is one of a kind, and thus, amazing.”

So, if these pieces speak to you in any way, spread them. We want to hear narratives of more women who have struggled with the concepts of skinny, societal expectations, and self-image. We want to hear stories of those who have suffered from bulimia and other binging/purging experiences. We want to hear from men who have struggled with a category of mental illness that is constantly pounded with the societal hammer of masculine expectations to have muscles and be tough. We want to hear your stories of using food as a coping mechanism and overeating. The list goes on.

To wrap things up, my point is that while these four profound, insightful, and wonderful stories have infinite potential for impact and empathy, they are only a snippet of the experience behind food, body image, and mental health. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a few impactful steps that leave permanent prints in the ground, in this case at least.

Tomorrow you will see some background information on eating disorders. What are they? How do you know when restricting, overeating, or looking in the mirror becomes unhealthy? This information is vital in understanding the symptoms that serve as a baseline, in some way or another, to these stories.  The following four days, we will share these stories with you. As always, feel free to always ask questions, provide support, give feedback, or build upon anything that is discussed this week.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Remember, you are not alone.

And you are loved.

-DK


This post is a part of our Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Find the other posts here:

An Introduction To Eating Disorder WeekWhat are Eating Disorders?He Called Me the “T” Word”  – An Empty Home & An Empty Stomach: My Lifelong Struggle With Eating Disorders – The Fine Print Doubt: Sarah’s Poem – A Journal on the Imperfections of Perfection – Nervosa


Source(s): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders

Note: If you want to read more about Active Minds or Alison, please follow this link: http://www.activeminds.org/index.php . I’ve naturally abbreviated all of the wonderful work that they do, so if you’re interested, I encourage you all to check it out 🙂

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health or mental illness? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

dear hope Uncategorized

The Deadly Promise

The Deadly Promise

The real me is disguised
by this massive unwanted weight.

Staring blankly into the glass,
praying to be given the most
valuable quality, that of perfection.

I don’t need anyone.
All I need is you.

My happy little addiction,
sweeping me away into your
false, troubled world.

The more withered I get,
the stronger you and I become.

Together we are reckless,
doing anything it takes
to be empty and accepted.

I can never be too critical
you always leave room for my improvement.

You promise me joy.
So I follow you willingly
into the depths of disappointment.

It’s never enough for you.
Therefore it’s never enough for me.

I signed your contract,
because I worship your
ability to beautify others.

Make me like them, my friend.
Transform me into something magnificent.


 

This poem was submitted by Kelsey-Brooke Scheumann.

Remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health or mental illness? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Creative Pieces dear hope Uncategorized

“Recovered and Still Struggling: Living Life Post ED” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 13

Is that really all you’re eating?” is a phrase I’ve been asked countless times. I think no matter how old I am, or where I go, this question will always cause my face to turn red.

Having an eating disorder (ED) can be pretty confusing to those who haven’t experienced one before. When you have one, regardless of its severity, you live in a constant state of self-judgment. Every move you make is monitored by your brain. Whether it’s choosing something to wear, what you are eating, or going into a public place, you are constantly on alert of what you look like to others.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope Uncategorized

My Reflection: Days and Nights With My Eating Disorder

“The human body is the best work of art.” ­ Jess C. Scott

There were mornings,

where all the mirrors were covered with a net. One that would catch your projected insecurities, and house them there until they grew too large to ignore. Becoming a permanent part of the reflections they presented. Every time you dare to glance over they would be the first thing your eyes catch, the monstrous voices of self ridicule further exaggerating them in your mind until it was they were only part of your distorted reflection you could think about.

Creative Pieces dear hope