Sunday, July 8, 2012

ED Talks #10--let's talk.

Recently I have been corresponding with one of my role models.  I have looked up to this woman for years, and when I was in the thick of my eating disorder, she reached out to me and told me about her own battle.  She is vibrant, intelligent, beautiful, and good.  And she is afraid to tell her story.  

In the same conversation (via text) where she expressed her fear, she also expressed some frustration that there are not more statistics about eating disorders.  I thought about it, and there isn't much information out there, and there certainly aren't a lot of resources.  I spoke a few months ago with the president of INCED (Inland Northwest Coalition on Eating Disorders) and she told me how just a few years ago, she was the ONLY counselor in the Inland Northwest area (Spokane and surrounding areas alone have 400,000 plus residents--you read the statistics and you do the math.) who specialized in treating eating disorders.  She simply could not treat all of the folks who needed help (and THOSE were the ones getting help--according to this page of statistics only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.  Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorder.)

If eating disorders have the "highest mortality rate of any mental illness," then why isn't there more help?  And why aren't more people GETTING help?  Why aren't we talking about it?  

I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know that it is time to start talking.  There was healing in writing my story, and even more in sharing it.  I am not proud to admit that I had an eating disorder, but I am not ashamed either.  Being a human who struggled with an eating disorder is not shameful.  What is shameful are media influences, abuse from family members and peers, and societal messages about beauty, worth, and love that perpetuate them.  

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If you are reading this, there is a decent chance that you are one who is fighting the good fight.  And it is a wrestle.  Whether or not you have had a diagnosable eating disorder, these things have cost us our money, our relationships, our happiness, our health, our freedom, our lives.  So let's fight.  And let's not fight alone.  Let's talk.  Let's grow in our understanding of where we really are and where we've really been, so we can move forward with greater certitude.  One thing I love about this blog is that it doesn't take so long to see how much we share.  

Don't be ashamed of where you've come from and where you are.  Remember, you are not your eating disorder any more than you are your depression, your addiction, your mistakes, your insecurities and fears.  These things might be something you are experiencing or have experienced, but they are not YOU.  

What do you say?  There are plenty of things that I'm afraid of in this life, but I'm not afraid of talking about these things.  More importantly, I am not afraid to listen to what you have to say and to hear your stories.  So tell them.  

Everybody has a story.  Every body has a story.  Tell yours.  

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