Feb. 2, 2022, noon
To those struggling and feeling so alone, you are not. I know that you will have a very hard time with that last statement, just as you are having a hard time now. You probably don’t know me, but know that I see you, I hear you and I understand you.
This week, I took a huge step and started attending a drop-in session to help get a handle on my eating disorders. It’s through Body Brave in Hamilton, and I have committed to attending weekly virtual sessions every Tuesday evening. So far, I feel a big shift in my thinking.
Yes, you read that right. I unfortunately said “disorders”, not “disorder”. I’m pretty open about my anxiety disorder, but the eating ones are ones that have been my own private version of Hell since 2009.
Without going into too much detail because it’s painful to fully get into outside of a counsellor’s office, I’ve dealt with anorexia and bulimia and have been dealing with binge eating for the last 12 years. Maybe even longer than that, if I’m being honest.
So, everyone that has gotten to know me personally or professionally since 2009, which is my entire academic and professional career, has known me with an unhealthy relationship with food. It has had major impacts on my life, put me in the hospital once, and has caused a lot of social anxiety around any occasion to do with food. Again, most networking events and social events involve food, which is hard for someone whose mind is juggling the networking and making connections while being preoccupied with the food being served.
For many years, I thought that I was “fixed” or “recovered” from all this, and that I had successfully done it all on my own. I remember the day that I started to eat properly again after many years. My father noticed my eating and congratulated me. The behaviours started again just after that and ended with me in the hospital.
The part I am living right now is more difficult to talk about because I am still in the depths of it, but I think it started around the time that I entered the workforce full-time. It was an easy way to calm my fears or to de-stress for a bit. When things calmed down, I wanted to get healthier but couldn’t resort to the ways I had adapted in the past, so I did eat a lot healthier for a few years and thought I had recovered. However a bunch of stuff happened that I can’t get into on a public forum and now, after a few years of this, I’m fed up and it’s time to recover properly and learn how to “ride the waves” as one of my doctors says.
WHEW. Now that is all out, let’s talk about how you can help someone you love that you think has an eating disorder or who has disclosed to you that they have had one in the past or may have one now.
The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) has the best information I have seen when it comes to helping someone trying to help someone with an eating disorder. Rather than re-hashing it all out, I’ll leave the tips to the experts.
Getting Help for Yourself: https://nedic.ca/help-for-yourself/
Helping Someone Else: https://nedic.ca/help-for-someone-else/
Helping Your Child: https://nedic.ca/helping-your-child/
Helping Youth: https://nedic.ca/help-for-youth/
I am the Philanthropic BookAce! I previously operated Youth Beyond Enterprises (all of the content from this is still absolutely and unequivocally available under the Business Resources section! But as the Philanthropic BookAce, I focus my stories on leadership, philanthropy on a low-to-no budget, raising the profile of Asexuality in Canada, community building, and genuinely expressing myself & embracing authenticity. In my day job, I work as a Pay & Records Administrator with the Department of National Defence. I am also a Canadian Forces Reservist in the COATS Sub-Component and the Commanding Officer of my local Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps.
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