"The welcoming and kind energy the Looking Glass fosters as an organization is the type of essence I hope to bring as a future counsellor. The team at the Foundation is warm and passionate, and I believe this is how they genuinely help those in the eating disorder community to recover."
"This poem encapsulates the Hand in Hand relationship, based on my experience. It is a partnership, collaborative relationship. In the pairing, I am the sounding board, confidant, and mirror for my matches. I infuse optimism and curiosity. I accept them for exactly who they are, as they show up. I strive to help them rediscover their truth, so that they can live an authentic life and connect deeper to their values. I encourage my matches to embody their freedom and feel that recovery is possible."
We sat down with a long-time Looking Glass volunteer, Sherene Balanji, who will be graduating next year from Simon Fraser University with an Honours degree in Psychology. She is currently working on completing her Honours Thesis exploring the relationship between social media behaviours and disordered eating in undergraduate students. She has been volunteering with Looking Glass in the Hand in Hand program for 3 years, and as a Forum Support volunteer since 2018. Today, she reflects back on the experience of receiving a 2017 Scholarship award from the Looking Glass Foundation.
"I am in recovery because that is what I know I need to do, not only for myself but also for that little boy, and for others suffering from eating disorders, especially those in the trans community. Each and every one of us deserves to know that there's more out there than our disorder, that we’re worth so much more than we believe and that we will grow to learn and love and accept ourselves for who we are."
"This note is one of many written during moments of challenge in my own recovery process as a reminder to myself. I am sharing it with you here and now with the hope that it reminds you of your own you: the part of you that is not your eating disorder, that part of you that is always there, that is always with you, and always fighting for you – even when it may not feel this way."
"Social media is a small, often filtered and posed glimpse into what people want others to see about their lives. Beyond that it is often image-based and unlike the old adage, a picture really isn’t worth a thousand words: it tells you very little about a person, their likes and dislikes, experiences, thoughts, hopes and dreams, potential, and challenges in life."
"For anyone struggling with an eating disorder, I am letting you know that things do get better and easier. Hold onto your support system, and appreciate the help and guidance they give you. Celebrate the daily victories because it means you are on the right path. And most of all believe in yourself throughout your journey, because recovery is possible."
"We don’t need to exhaust ourselves or do anything “exceptional” before engaging in self-care. We are already deserving of love, care, and attention by virtue of the fact that we are human."
Recovery is such a unique process, and universally I think everyone just wants to be at peace with themselves, but this shows up differently for everyone and how this is achieved can vary so greatly depending on culture, background, and identity.
"As a poem transfers from just a few lines or a concept into a full collection of letters and spaces, something happens. I wrote 'Days Below Zero', because I have a hard time understanding how to support someone who has a problem with themselves at the level someone struggling with an eating disorder would. I was trying to show how a peer support volunteer could engage someone, and hopefully challenge the perspective that is causing pain."