My beautiful, kind niece contacted me the other day. She had sent a text message sharing how she was struggling with her self-confidence. A couple of things entered my mind at that moment: how very proud I was of her to reach out to someone, followed immediately by the question ‘what was I going to share with her?’ This conversation was very important to me, so before picking up the phone I took the time to reflect back on my own experience over the past 8 years. I thought about what had made an impact on me in hopes it would provide the same impact for her.
I want to tell you about the night I ended the bingeing cycle. I didn’t have this major ah-ha moment. It’s funny how some of the most important moments of life are often pretty anti-climactic. On this night when I ended the cycle, I was watching a movie. While I’m watching the movie, that little voice in my head started talking.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “Just Eat More” thrown at me- well, I might not quite be a millionaire, but I’d certainly have a lump sum saved for a rainy day. Those words would come from all sorts of people around me - my parents (initially), my friends, and the people I’d come to meet routinely at the gym when I told them about my eating concerns. Time and time again, I would be ‘advised’ to simply order more, or to grab an extra piece; or worst of all, a friend at a dinner party would do it for me and give me this look of victory, as if they had accomplished some sort of dignifying act of intervention. Thanks, but it doesn’t quite work like that.
One of my eating disorder’s last “strongholds” was exercise addiction.
But truthfully, I’m not sure if exercise addiction is the right word. You see, I was “working out” 3 times a week, and certainly not in a way that outsiders would see as excessive. But it was the thoughts and motivation behind exercise that called it into question.
Here at the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, we are not only mandated to share information about eating disorders.. It is also our responsibility to provide information and resources about body image and food and weight preoccupation. That’s why days like tomorrow are so important to us.
May 6th is International No Diet Day. It is a day for organizations and individuals to push back against the industries and messages that encourage us to engage in dangerous dieting behaviours.
We hear the statistics: one in five people have a mental illness but what does that say about the mental well-being of the other four? Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being. Mental health is something we all can benefit from working towards.
For a decade, time consisted of psychologists, psychiatrists, and hospital admissions; one after another. I was slowly losing the battle, but not fully. A decade of illness finally took its toll on me. I was slowly sinking into a deeper and deeper depression, and feeling real emotions for the first time; especially hurt and anger.
I feel like I am trapped inside myself. I am smart, logical and capable. I am a grown woman with a beautiful house, loving husband, and a steady career that is both rewarding and challenging. On top of it all, I have an energetic and adorable puppy. Yet, when it comes to this disorder, I feel out of control, illogical, irrational and...stupid. I know the damage that my actions cause to my body. I know that to someone on the outside it is seemingly simple to just stop.
I decided last week to clean out my bedroom and give it a bit of a Spring makeover. I believe it is great to switch things up every once in a while; especially after you mark a new season, as it generally is a time for new beginnings!
I did not imagine that cleaning my room would take as long as it did, but once I started, I began digging up quite a lot of things. Who knew that my moderate-sized bedroom could hold so much stuff? An abundance of papers, photos, schoolwork from elementary school, clothing, old toys...oh yes, you name it! My bedroom essentially was a time capsule of everything that had happened in my life up until now.