As the Looking Glass Volunteer Coordinator, it makes my heart soar to see volunteers all across Canada being recognized and celebrated during National Volunteer Week! Volunteers give so much more than just their time: they give their passion, their drive, and their spirit. At the Looking Glass Foundation, our volunteers make it possible for us to offer the kind of meaningful support that can have such a profound impact on eating disorder sufferers, their families, and their communities – programs that simply could not happen without the generosity of volunteers.
I want to talk about something we don’t discuss enough. I want to talk about shame.
Shame. It’s definitely not the most pleasant sounding word is it?
If shame were an image, what would it look like? Dose it conjure a specific picture for you? A memory of a past experience? Perhaps, it conjures nothing. Any and all reactions to shame (seeing it, hearing it, feeling it) are normal, because shame elicits various responses across different situations from different people.
The numbers of Canadians, youth and adults, with eating disorders are on the rise. With at least 1.5 million affected, the importance of fostering a community who cares couldn’t be more crucial.
The LGF community is built on individuals whose lives have been touched by the tragedy of this disease. Whether it was their own personal struggle, or the struggle of someone close to them; they know the pain and suffering first-hand.
Calories have been in the news.
As of January 1st 2017, many major restaurant chains in Ontario are now required to post calorie counts beside their menu items, and perhaps not surprisingly, everyone seems to have an opinion about that.
As a community of compassionate people dedicated to a world without eating disorders, we understand the impact of empowering those who are breaking through to the other side of this illness. Each year, the Looking Glass Foundation awards $15,000 in scholarships and bursaries to BC students who have received treatment, or are currently receiving treatment, for an eating disorder. Our scholarships underscore three distinct strengths in overcoming an eating disorder: Persevere; Pursue Your Passion; and Rise Above.
At the height of my eating disorder, what I saw in the mirror and what I actually looked like were two very different images. There are not many pictures of me that reflect how sick I was around this time. This is partly due to the fact that pictures back then were taken on film and had to be developed, so there were far fewer pictures taken in general. It is also partly due to the fact that I avoided the camera like the plague.
Dr. Ellen Domm, R.Psych, CEDS Registered Psychologist Certified Eating Disorder Specialist email: email@example.com phone: 778-881-3979 www.drdomm.com
Q: I struggle with Binge Eating but everyone just keeps telling me it’s about willpower. Is Binge Eating really an Eating Disorder?
A: There are many tragic experiences that people who struggle with eating disorders experience and this is one of them. Often, when we see people bingeing, especially if they struggle with their weight as a result, it is assumed that their struggle is due to the individual lacking restraint and that the pain that’s caused is self-inflicted.
Strength can mean a number of different things to a number of different people. Some may define it as being physically strong and being able to lift heavy things, while others may feel it more encompasses a mental quality to be able to withstand any given scenario and emerge better from it. I think we can all agree that strength can encapsulate both physical and mental, and it isn't so black and white. Just like recovery. Recovery is an entirely different beast, with everyone having their own opinion on what it looks like.
The entirety of my life once revolved around my weight. Every thought, action, and breath I breathed was dedicated towards the pursuit of becoming thinner, smaller, invisible…
After my personality and vitality had starved to diminishment, my physical body began the final act of disappearance. It was during what I thought was the last act of my life that a plot twist in the form of major medical complication, a heart attack, stormed the stage. This twist brought trained professionals to co-star alongside my emaciated body. Their actions saved my life and stopped the tragedy I was acting out.