I remember the first time I learned about eating disorders. My mom bought me an illustrated book called “Woman Up!” from Chapters...
Words are a weapon. Words are medicine. Words can be cruel. Words can be beautiful. The power of language is a gift and a tool entrusted to humanity, and it took a lead role in many of the lessons I learned at this year’s Looking Glass Summer Camp.
As we anticipate the arrival of summer, something that can become thought consuming, is the idea of being beach body ready.
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..
There is no one personality type that is more susceptible to developing an eating disorder than others. There are common characteristics that many, including myself, seem to share. Being a people pleaser was one that contributed to my past struggles.
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 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.
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.
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.