Despite adamantly believing that I would never speak about my eating disorder and vowing that, if I recovered, I would leave it behind me, I have found myself doing rather a lot of talking in recent months.
Provided with some great opportunities by Professor Janet Treasure, I have spoken to students, professionals, and general bods; and, found it a remarkably rewarding process and a real way of being able to change a few perceptions.
Whilst I am quite open to speaking to the converted or those willing to listen; I have, perhaps, been a little more cautious with the wider world. I am selective with who I mention my site to, guarded with what I do on my ‘days off’, elusive around my past and my work, and very careful not to provide any ammunition or gossip –
Ammunition or gossip?
There is still a cloud of stigma around eating disorders. Still a slight fear and that awkward silence when people aren’t quite sure what to say next. Still the misconception that it only affects “certain people”, and not necessarily the man or woman that you sit next to at work (and “is far more sensible than that”) – or the relative who’s become a little quiet (“but doesn’t look that thin”) – or the son or daughter or brother or sister that you dearly love –
This week is eating disorder awareness week and I’m going to start being a bit braver. It’s all very well talking to those who already ‘know’, but raising awareness is also about reaching those who don’t know.
It’s a difficult challenge and I’m not sure how you start changing things; but, I imagine that speaking candidly is one way; and owning the experience, another…
This is the podcast and video (link opens in an external site) of the presentation that I have been giving with Professor Treasure about my perception of the media in relation to eating disorders. It contains some brilliant information about the science and background of eating disorders, which is key to helping people to gain the information which will change perceptions and improve understanding.
We have also talked about maintaining factors and, whilst there wasn’t a camera on at the time, please email me if you’d like the transcript and slides.