Speak Up - World Eating Disorder Action Day

Project HEAL blog post world edThis post is written by co-blog manager Emily Costa A year ago my life looked very differently. Exactly 365 days ago, I would have been sitting in Intensive Outpatient programming in Miami. Away from my family and so called “life” in NYC (by now I would have thankfully realized living WITH my eating disorder was not a life).

I would have been probably pouring a little bit of my heart out in a group right now, reminding myself that vulnerability was they key to my recovery. Reminding myself that I was worth recovery in the first place.

I was working on myself with every ounce of my being (just as I still do today) and I luckily sit in gratitude today for that opportunity to mend the relationship with myself, my body, and my mind. Especially knowing some people aren't so lucky.

Today is World Eating Disorder Action Day and I’m sitting in a café, not focused on the croissant I ate for breakfast, or the sandwich I will order for lunch; but focused on spreading the awareness and understanding of eating disorders.

This is all foreign territory to me – advocating for something that I once felt I’d never overcome. This whole using my voice and speaking about an illness that had once controlled my every thought is scary, but freeing all at the same time.

With sharing the nine truths for World ED day on social media, I realized how much each one meant to me.

It took years to realize that how I looked on the outside did not determine whether or not I was sick – or if I deserved help. It took years to realize that my diagnosis, although hard to process, was not a definitive life sentence of struggling; and that the diagnosis didn’t define me.

It took me years to realize I did not choose my eating disorder, that I wasn’t doing it for attention, and that I couldn’t just “stop.” It took me years to realize that eating disorders affect millions and do not discriminate.

All this awareness I have today is something I wish I could have come to realize a lot sooner in my life, but I’m grateful for the acceptance I have today.

I will say that sometimes I get defeated that more don’t understand the complexity of an eating disorder or what it entails to live freely from this illness. But that alone makes me want to speak louder, fight harder and be braver.

But ultimately? I feel lucky to be living at a time where there are so many people fighting so hard to share the reality of eating disorders. And most importantly, that recovery is possible.

Take part of the action: http://worldeatingdisordersday.org

P.S. Don't forget to grab your Project HEAL Gala ticket for tomorrow night: http://bit.ly/1PnPu2h