I just want to take this opportunity to post about an issue near and dear to my heart. This past week (2/23-3/1) was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I have known many people affected by this disease over the years in one form or another. It is the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. About 1,000 women die each year from ED due to malnutrition, heart attack and suicide. One thing to keep in mind is that an eating disorder is not about weighing 75 lbs and looking like you just got out of a concentration camp. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and it’s more about the disordered thought processes than what a person looks like. The DSM V (The diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Eating Disorders) made some changes recently to clarify diagnoses. You can read about all of the changes here.
In college, while I was on my own path of healing, I got involved in the National Eating Disorder Awareness Committee, which raised awareness about eating disorders. Our main goal was to bring programming to campus each year for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but we always tried to promote positive messages about loving yourself as you are. Our inspiration came from Operation Beautiful, which is a blog that got its start with the idea of posting post- its in public places with positive messages encouraging everyone to love themselves. It’s a great sight to visit if you ever need a pick me up. I even had the privilege of hearing the founder, Caitlin Boyle speak one year on campus.
“You are not perfection, but you are beautifully flawed.”-Simply Kat was one of the speakers at the first NEDA week I attended during college. This quote stuck with me and was later written on my mirror in college as a reminder every morning when I did not like what I saw.
See the entire video of her spoken word- Beautifully Human below:
Eating disorders have many causes:
Dieting to look better
Major life transitions like puberty, entering high school or college or major losses or trauma
Social difficulties like teasing, bullying or ridicule
Fear of failure or a need to be perfect (often related to dieting)
Traumatic events like sexual and physical abuse
Other psychiatric illnesses like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder
Personality traits like low self-esteem, difficulty with change, fear of feeling out of control
I could probably write forever about this topic and I probably should have been more proactive and posted something each day this past week. Better late than never I suppose.
Remember, if you aim for perfection you will fall short every time. Focus on learning to love yourself how you were made and know that you are perfectly imperfect and beautifully flawed. Spread the love today and tell someone they are beautiful inside and out!
“I would rather be what God made chose to make me than the most glorious creature I could think of. For to have been made, thought about, born in God’s thought and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, most precious thing in all thinking.” -Jerry Bridges