Wednesday, 25 February 2015


It's National Eating Didorders Awareness Week this week
An important date on the calendar for sufferers and their families
I know it has been in the media a lot this week in this country
My doctor from treatment has been on the tv and radio numerous times this talking about eating disorders 
I think it's so important to talk about EDs
As we all know
EDs have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
That is a chilling statistic

Eating disorders thrive on secrecy
Sufferers don't want to talk about what they are doing
Because they are embarrassed 
Because they are afraid
And because they are ashamed 
I know in my case
It took me years to even admit to the fact that I had an ED
I couldn't face up to the reality that I had anorexia
As well as having an addiction
It was all too much
I remember feeling so scared and alone at that time
I knew nothing about EDs
I knew no one that had experience with them
And it was so confusing
As I had always loved my food
And now it was becoming my enemy
I didn't know where to turn
Or what to do
Telling my family was beyond difficult
But I soon found out that they had suspected I had food issues anyway
That's the thing about EDs
We think we are hiding them
And keeping them secret
But those that know us best 
Always know that something is up

I think it's so important to talk about EDs and mental health issues
Ten people kill themselves every week on this country
And eight of those are men
Some high profile people have spoken out about mental illness in this country
Which has started the conversation in homes
We are not very good at talking about our issues here in Ireland
We are experts at sweeping things under the carpet and burying our heads in the sand
My family used to be like that
Growing up our house was turbulent
There were issues that badly needed to be addressed 
But instead they were ignored
And they festered and stewed
Almost tearing my family apart
But now 
Years later
We are able to talk openly about out addictions and disorders
And we are closer than ever

My hope for this week
NEDA week
Is that people talk more about EDs
In my mind 
EDs are a way to take some control over our lives
Those with EDs are not happy well adjusted people 
We are suffering
Suffering from low self esteem
We have little or no confidence or belief in ourselves
We are lonely
And afraid
It's no exaggeration to say that hate ourselves
And so we try to take control ovet the one thing we can
Our weight

As we all know
Treating EDs is extremely difficult
You are dealing with someone who might not want to get well
And it's damn near impossible to treat someone who doesn't want the help
I have been in hospital and treatment many times
It was always me trying to maintain my illness
Trying to stay one step ahead of the staff
I saw them as the enemy
As them trying to take away the only thing that was keeping me going
For me
Inpatient treatment did not work
And it took me a while to figure that out
Being around other girls with chronic illness was so hard
And the docks all day was good and weight
I don't doubt that it works for some people
And you have to be so focused and determined to get well in that situation
I began to get well with the help of Mary
It took me a long time 
But eventually I mustered up the courage to address my demons
I found doing it from home suited me much better
I think that inpatient treatment really needs to be looked at
And more out patient treatment needs to be available

This week two years ago
There was an ED convention in my home town
Organised by Bodywhys and Mary
Two days before the convention
Mary rand myself and my mother
And asked us both to speak at the conference
I was terrified 
But I really wanted to do it
I wanted to be honest about what it is like to live day in, day out with an ED
I felt it was so important to let people know the reality of it
I wrote out my speech
And wrote as if no one was ever going to read it
The day of the conference
I was a bundle of nerves
I watched the room fill up
With doctors, psychiatrists, families and sufferers
I held my speech in my hands
Reading over it again and again
Soon it was my turn to speak
I don't remember much about reading it out
Only that it was over before I knew it
I got so much great feedback afterwards
Mary hugged me
And she had a tear in her eye
I hope my speech that day gave  people a better understanding of what it's like to live with an ED
Because often families and friends are at a loss as to what to do to help their loved one
And I think it's up to us
Those of us that are suffering or in recovery
To let others know how to help us
And to ask for that help
Because inspire of what we think 
We can not do this alone

1 comment:

  1. This was so inspiring and so true, as well. I hope you're well.
    <3 Lee


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