Proud2Bme | Shattering Stigma: How Proud2Bme Writers Raised Awareness This NEDAwareness Week

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Shattering Stigma: How Proud2Bme Writers Raised Awareness This NEDAwareness Week

Every year, NEDAwareness Week puts the spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders to improve public understanding of their causes, triggers and treatments. This year’s theme was “3 Minutes Can Save a Life: Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy.” to increase awareness of and access to NEDA’s confidential online eating disorders screening and resources for early detection and intervention.

Here’s how a few of our bloggers started important conversations this past NEDAwareness Week:

Jess Mell: Whoever decided that there should be a week dedicated to raising awareness of eating disorders deserves so much more than a medal. They have provided a platform where people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to speak out about eating disorders. Sufferers, carers and those not familiar with eating disorders all have the chance to learn more about diagnosis, treatment and the recovery process.

My efforts to raise eating disorders awareness this NEDAwareness Week included being interviewed by a local radio station, sharing my blog, writing a lifestyle column for The Yorkshire Times, and guest speaking at the University of York eating disorder awareness event.

As soon as Monday of NEDAwareness Week arrived, my week of sharing my experiences got off to a flying start. Firstly, my interview with a local radio station was aired continuously throughout the day. I had previously done a radio interview when I was in the hospital, so this new interview provided me with the perfect platform to follow up with a positive recovery story

On Monday evening I received some very exciting news! I was allocated space on a local online publication, The Yorkshire Times, where I have the opportunity to share my story of living with an eating disorder. This is an incredible opportunity for me to increase awareness and educate others about the importance of mental health.

On Tuesday, I was thrilled to see that Mind, a mental health charity, had published a post about my blog on their website and social media outlets. Being able to engage with a wider audience has been so moving, as I can only hope that it helps just a few more people out there who are currently struggling.

On Thursday I spoke at the University of York eating disorder awareness event. Being that university was where the greatest decline in both my mental and physical health occurred, I felt it was vitally important that I share my story, to demonstrate just how challenging it can be to fight a mental illness, and to underscore that so much more needs to be offered in this area of healthcare treatment in the UK.

My week of raising awareness has been tiring, but I just wish that by speaking out about the difficulties I have faced throughout the past few years of my life I will not only provide encouragement for those suffering, but also increase public understanding of the severity of this illness.

Nagham Kheder: This year for NEDAwareness Week I wanted to do something to help spread awareness, but at first I was unsure  what that could be. I have never openly discussed my eating disorder, but I decided that I wanted to take action and talk about it in whatever way I could. At the start of the week I decided to finally share the donation link for the March NEDA Walk on my Facebook page. At first I was hesitant of the questions I might get from people, but I did it anyway.

Throughout the week I openly talked to people about eating disorders. Some people didn’t exactly know what they were or how they could be treated. The more I talked about eating disorders the more I felt a sense of relief. I took it a step further and started to talk about my own struggle. I thought that by personalizing it I could help someone else. This week I may have done a little, but this is just the start for me—I’m passionate about raising awareness of eating disorders, and I’m glad I put myself out there and talked about it.

Lauren Myers: For NEDAwareness Week, I travelled to one of my state’s public universities to serve as a NEDA volunteer speaker. I find strength in sharing my battle, learn things about myself in the process and see that it gives hope to others. On my campus, I helped students who were concerned about themselves and/or a friend through our counseling and health services “Eating Disorder Screening Day.” Lastly, my body-positive support and activism group hosted a screening of America the Beautiful 2 to take a look at America’s dieting craze, its insidious use of BMI and the lives of industry leaders. Even though NEDAwareness Week is over, there is still the rest of the year to continue advocating for and supporting individuals affected by eating disorders.

Danielle Lowe: I celebrated NEDAwareness Week 2016 in a completely new way; it was the first NEDAwareness Week that I could confidently say I was in recovery.

When I was sick, I only had one person to look to for hope for recovery. Without her, I definitely would have lost hope and given up. I hope to be the same person for someone else, so this year I decided to speak openly about my recovery.

I found myself speaking honestly about my history with an eating disorder and my current recovery. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support I received, and also saddened by the number of people who opened up to me about their own food and body image struggles. Though it saddened me to know that they were struggling, I was happy that they spoke to me about it, and that they have someone to look to for hope.

Additionally, I belong to a women’s music fraternity called Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI). My sisters and I have been raising money for the upcoming NEDA Walk in Miami for about a month, but we also wanted to do something specifically for NEDAwareness Week. We set up a booth and asked for $1 (donated to NEDA) in exchange for a card and decoration supplies. People wrote messages about something they love—outside of appearance or body type—for friends, teachers or significant others, and shared the cards with them.

We raised about $120 from that fundraiser for NEDA. It was such a fulfilling experience knowing that I was helping people to realize their worth outside of their appearance.

Jeanette Suros: In support of NEDAwareness Week, I posted every day on Instagram and Facebook, and on Monday, February 22, 2016, I spoke at Delaware Valley High School. A senior at the school, Christina Miranda, sent me a message asking me asking to speak at her school. She had gotten the whole school to participate in NEDAwareness Week, and I was so happy to be involved.

Christina created a whole week of events to educate her school on eating disorders and to bring awareness—from me speaking out to screenings of Someday Melissa to funky socks. She did such a great job, and I was so happy to be able to educate and share my story of hope with those who may be struggling or know someone who is struggling. 

I also had the opportunity to be a part of Project Heal New Jersey Chapter’s candlelight yoga honoring NEDAwareness Week at Alluem Yoga in Cranford, New Jersey. Yoga helped me to heal from my eating disorder, and I believe that it is one of the greatest things for eating disorder recovery—you begin to let go and start connecting  the mind and the body.

NEDAwareness Week doesn’t have to end—we can raise awareness and make a difference year-round. Full recovery is possible and help is out there. If you or anyone you know is struggling, reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association. We can all make a difference and save lives.

For recovery resources and treatment options, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 800-931-2237.

For more on recovery, check out:

Undiagnosed but Not Without a Voice

Fighting for Recovery

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About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.