What is recovery?
If you have ever suffered or supported someone who has an eating disorder, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question – over and over again.
I really didn't want to talk about this today.
In fact, most days I don't want to talk about this. I'm tired, frustrated, and quite frankly, bored talking about this. But this is a conversation that really needs to happen – because we live in a culture that perpetually shames, abuses, and harasses the bodies that inhabit it. And I can't afford to be sick and tired of talking about it, because the stakes are too high and we still have a lot of work to do together.
Let’s discuss, shall we...
For me it all started off as an obsession with myself and my body. 'Improving' myself, 'improving' my body in order to fill some need I was unaware of at the time. A need that would take me years to become conscious of. At the time I believed I was ‘getting healthy’ in order to look better and to have people like me. Who has a similar story? Sadly, I’ve heard more than a few..
Eating disorders affect many lives and can have long-lasting physical, psychological, and emotional consequences. Fortunately, many former ED sufferers will go on to live “normally”—pursuing higher education, careers, love, and family. Many recovered/recovering women who have struggled with eating disorders in the past will experience the numerous joys and pains of being pregnant and becoming mothers.
We don’t all work in an office that has a water cooler, but it’s a guarantee that these “water cooler conversations” are still taking place. These are the conversations you and your colleagues engage in when you’re taking a break from your work-related tasks. They take place in the lunchroom, your cubicles, at the printer, in meeting rooms, and the trip to grab your afternoon caffeine pick-me-up. They’re everywhere and they’re hard to avoid.
I struggle with binge eating disorder but when I talk to people everyone tells me my disorder isn’t as bad or as serious as other people who struggle with anorexia and bulimia. Is there really a hierarchy of eating disorders?
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.