Eating Disorder Awareness Week takes place all this week, February 25th to March 3rd. Earlier this week, Megan appeared on Ireland AM to share her experience of ED in an honest and open way. Did you spot her, you can watch her here?
As a Shona ambassador, Megan has shared her personal account with us many times, and since she joined our youth council 2 years ago, we have watched her gather strength after her recovery and become an inspirational young woman. Megan has traveled the world, made new friends and wants to share her story, so those who are struggling can see the light at the end of the tunnel. (You can read some of her accounts here, here, here and here).
Last year she wrote this piece on how we can get involved in EDAW, to learn, talk and share….
Below are some simple things you can do this Eating Disorder Awareness Week as a way of educating yourself and focusing public attention on the topic of eating disorders…
- Read– There are tons of books out there which explain what it’s like to have an eating disorder as told from sufferer’s points of view, both autobiographies and fiction. Libraries usually have excellent sections on books about mental health, including informative eating disorder books. The internet seems to be a first choice nowadays for finding information but be sure to visit legit sites with up to date and truthful resources. Stay clear of any pro-Ana type sites (which are terribly damaging and horrifyingly untruthful).
- Listen– Be there for friends who need a platform to spill their thoughts or let out their feelings. If you notice someone displaying any sort of eating disorder tendencies, however small, ask if they want to talk about it. Don’t be pushy or aggressive, just be the person you would like to talk to if you were having trouble. You don’t need to be a talking self-help guide, just being there and LISTENING with even no input to the conversation but your own ears, is very helpful for someone who is experiencing difficulties with eating/body issues.
- Raise money– Eating disorder charities, such as Bodywhys in Ireland, do fantastic work to help sufferers of ED’s as well as their families and friends. Free online support groups for adults and youth are run weekly by volunteers, which are valuable to many people, especially those with no access to therapy. They provide an endless amount of resources on their website, run events, information stands, school talks etc. Next time you hold a fundraiser, consider organisations such as Bodywhys as your chosen charity.
- Attend a talk– Have a look to see if there are any talks/information stands near to where you live during EDAW. Even if you don’t know anyone personally with an ED, having knowledge on the issue will give you the opportunity to raise awareness. Bring along a friend or family member to widen the circle of public knowledge.
- Social Media– After being fully equipped with information from books and talks , you can now hop on to your favourite social media platform to spread the message. Share useful resources on Facebook or post a pic to Instagram, it doesn’t matter if one person or 1000 people see it, either way you are reducing the stigma and bringing public attention to Eating Disorders this Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
As Megan suggested, please check out the BodyWhys website, always our go to organisation for information on anything ED related in Ireland.
If you need to talk.
Email support firstname.lastname@example.org
Helpline 1890 200 444