National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015: Wrapping Up

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015

Saturday marked the close of National Eating Disorder Awareness week.

As I wrote in my first post, I spent last year’s Awareness Week in a residential treatment facility. Throughout the week we did various activities to mark the occasion (not that we needed any additional awareness about what eating disorders are).

(Tangent — I have an amusing image in my mind of our art projects ending up on display somewhere, with someone enthusiastically telling onlookers, “Here you’ll see the therapeutic work of actual eating disorder patients. Notice the dark colors they paint with, as well as the preponderance of butterflies.”)

We had no idea what was going in “the outside world” on any given day (though I tried my best to wake up early and beat my 59 housemates to the TV so I could watch Charlie Rose), nor how the rest of the eating disorder community was commemorating awareness week. Still, it was moving to know people were thinking of us, talking about this illness, and asking others to engage in the fight. Though strangers, these people understood what we were going through and were rooting for us. It made me feel less alone.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week from 2014 to 2015

This year I spent Awareness Week not in a treatment facility, but in recovery. I participated in the events and the national conversations and I posted daily here on The Middle Ground. Even from my liberated perspective in “the outside world,” I found it just as touching as I did last year. It was quite amazing to log on to Twitter or Facebook and see my feed filled with discussion about eating disorders.

Indeed, at times it was difficult to be surrounded by the constant reminders. But on the whole, I felt profoundly grateful for the efforts. This year, I saw with my own eyes that people truly care about what we go through. I felt validated. I felt part of a community.

I felt seen.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week wraps upSo, as someone in recovery from an eating disorder, I want to say: Thank you. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I appreciate the awareness-raising efforts and all that they do to help secure increased access to care and decreased stigma surrounding eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

Just as importantly, though, I appreciate the emotional support — stated and unstated — that comes with these efforts. Your love and concern are evident, and that’s the best gift you could offer to someone in recovery.

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