It’s Time to Talk About It

 

Today kicks off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017 (February 24- March 3) with this year’s theme appointed, “It’s Time to Talk about It”.

It’s time to talk about the public health crisis that eating disorders pose, as 30 million individuals of all ages and genders suffer from these illnesses in the United States. If you think you could be one of them, take a few minutes to complete this confidential online screening. http://nedawareness.org/get-screened

It’s time to talk about the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental health disorder; more people die from eating disorders than any other psychiatric condition. http://www.something-fishy.org/memorial/memorial.php

It’s time to talk about binge eating disorder being the most common eating disorder, greatly contributing to our country’s obesity epidemic. http://bedaonline.com/resources/

It’s time to talk about the inadequate funding for eating disorder research. According to the National Institutes of Health in 2011, research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s averaged $88 per affected individual. For autism, the amount was $44. For eating disorders, the average amount of research dollars per affected individual was just $0.93.  In response, the Eating Disorders Coalition is an organization whose mission is to advance the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority. To learn more about how you can get involved: http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org/inner_template/get_involved/take-action.html#/

It’s time to talk about the messages that Americans are bombarded with about food, weight, and unachievable body ideals that add to the prevalence of eating disorders. Why else would 47% of elementary school girls who look at popular magazines say the pictures make them want to lose weight? Body positivity campaigns need to be the norm, not the exception. http://selfesteem.dove.us/

It’s time to talk about the loved ones who are impacted by their family members’ illness and the toll it takes on them. There is now more support than ever out there for caregivers. http://www.feast-ed.org/

It’s time to talk about how to get help. The earlier a person seeks treatment for an eating disorder, the greater the likelihood of full physical and emotional recovery. To search for treatment near you, https://www.edreferral.com/treatment. Locally if you are looking for support, Chrysalis Center offers individual, group, and nutritional counseling for people with any type of eating disorder. Our SOAR group (Staying Open about Recovery) and dietitian led meal support groups are currently open to new participants.

Most importantly, it’s time to talk about hope for the recovery process. As a certified eating disorders specialist, I’ve learned the most over the years not from scholarly articles or expert led workshops, but from my amazing clients and their families who have battled these deadly diseases and overcome them. To honor those who are walking this path, this week our blog and Facebook page will be publishing writing from the real experts- those in the process of recovery. Thank you to these brave individuals for sharing their powerful stories, taking the time to “talk about it”.

From a client:

“For the first time in my life, I don’t have to work to find the positives.

In high school, when the dark thoughts and voices began to take over, I challenged myself to sit down every night and make a list of three positive things that happened that day. Most nights, I struggled to come up with one.

It wasn’t easy, but after time, this helped me focus on the positives in my life instead of the negatives. I began to see treatment and therapy as an opportunity to grow instead of a punishment. I began to view my eating disorder as a challenge to radically love myself and the world around me. I began to have hope again.

The hardest part is talking about it. I kept my eating disorder a secret for three years before I confided in a friend. I stayed quiet for another two years before I reached out for help. I let five years go by while I suffered silently.

I’m working today on unapologetically being open about my experience. I have nothing to be ashamed of. It has taken me six years to believe that my eating disorder is not something I need to hide.

You have the strength to talk about it. You have the ability to take back control over your life. One small step towards recovery today will amaze you in the future when you look back on your journey.

This life is so beautiful and you deserve to enjoy it.”

 

Kelly Broadwater, LPA, LPC, CEDS is a psychologist and professional counselor who holds the distinction of Certified Eating Disorders Specialist from the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. She co-founded the Chrysalis Center in 2003 and is proud of the team of experts she’s assembled to treat eating disorders and other mental health concerns.


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