I'd like to take a break from interior design talk to address very serious issue. This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
You may think, "Alicia, this doesn't apply to me", but an estimated 12 million people suffer from an eating disorder, so you probably know or have known someone with an eating disorder, even if you were not aware of it. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness and is still on the rise. This whole week (it should be all year round!) is about awareness, which I think we should all take the time to acknowledge. The most important issue is actually talking about this disease (anorexia, bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and EDNOS), as uncomfortable as it may be, it brings awareness to it and can help those who are suffering.
I've been in contact with Elizabeth Showers recently (above), as she is a spokesperson for NEDA, and also the daughter of Jan Showers. You might recognize her name because she is a very talented jewelry designer of some of the most beautiful jewelry pieces I've seen. Her creativity shines through each piece and she has been recovered from an eating disorder for 19 years. Here are some of her thoughts that she shared with me on eating disorder recovery...
"My purpose in life is to remind all women to feel great right now. Don’t wait until you get your career started, until you are in the “perfect” relationship, until you have children, until you make a lot of money, until your children are out of the house, until your body “looks perfect” (because there is no such thing), and especially not until your life is perfect, because that will never happen. Life is messy. Life is imperfect. Life is about progress, not perfection. Even after almost 19 years of being recovered from anorexia, I still have to tell myself on a regular basis to lighten up. Because when I am too serious, it weighs me down, and is a barrier to my success, in business and personally. When I resist, I am pushing against the flow of life. When I was acting out in my eating disorder, I couldn’t even make sense of one moment to the next. As soon as I started eating all full meals on a regular basis, the cobwebs in my brain started dissipating, and I could let myself feel true emotions, and I could be present in this very moment. Not long after eating normally on a daily basis, going to 12 step meetings regularly, talking with a healthy mentor consistently, changing my playground of friends to those who could empathize and be supportive, and regular group therapy with other women with eating disorders, my light began to shine. And I started feeling happiness and self-confidence, and peace and love for myself and for others. I began to see the world more as it is, and not as much through my own personal eating-disordered filter. And then I began to discover my purpose of helping others, of which I now believe that is the primary reason I went through a living Hell otherwise known as an eating disorder. I now know that when I let my light shine, I give others permission to do the same."
I think this is great advice for anybody, if they are struggling with the disease, or an addiction, or not. What an inspiration she is! (and SO talented)
The National Eating Disorders Association has put together a great schedule of events HERE which you can follow! Please visit the site HERE and talk about it! Talk about it with coworkers, on twitter (social media activism!!), and with your friends and family.
There is an incredible web of support on the internet too--blogs, songs, and resources galore. If you want to contribute to this cause and don't know how, you can always give money (health insurance doesn't usually support treatment, so sadly many people go without)! If you have questions, please visit the site or you can contact me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Eating Disorders Awareness Week!
Be good to yourselves, and treat your bodies and minds with care.