Two years ago I was invited by the Eating Disorders Coalition to participate in the Spring 2011 Congressional Briefing. I put on a fancy suit and gave a speech on Capitol Hill about my experiences with anorexia and how drastic action is needed to save lives from eating disorders.
“When I should have been making friends, focusing on school work, and growing into the person I was going to become, I instead lost two years of my life to anorexia, two years of my life that I can’t ever get back. My senior year in high school, I had a falling out with some close friends, and fell into a deep depression. I lost my appetite, and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know what was happening – everything occurred so quickly. Though I had visibly lost weight, it was a few months after my problems began that I ever bothered weighing myself. Co-workers who didn’t know me well would compliment me on the weight I’d lost. My friends could tell something was wrong, they just didn’t know how to approach it. Not knowing what was wrong myself, when they’d ask if I was OK I would insist that I was fine (a word that a good friend of mine refers to as ‘the real F-word’). Eventually, someone at work asked me how much weight I had lost. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, and out of sheer curiosity I went home and weighed myself, and my bitter relationship with numbers began.”
Got to participate in a panel discussion on body image in males for The Stream, a program which airs on Al Jazeera English. Really stoked to have been a part of it, especially because of the other panelists. Alan Aragon, a nutrition and body building expert, had a lot of unique things to talk about that were new to me.
Part 2 of the Reasons for Recovery Blog Series is here to continue the countdown to Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Today it’s my turn to take on the subject:
“The push to do all the work necessary to recover was that anorexia was turning me into the kind of person I didn’t want to be. I was hurting friendships and relationships with excuses and lies. My grades were falling. So much of my time and energy was devoted to losing weight that I didn’t have much time for anything else, and all I had to show for it was a sunken face and an aching pain in the muscles around my heart. The choice to recover was the choice to start living my life again, for me.”
Here’s my write-up for the lobby day hosted by the National Eating Disorders Association on January 18, 2012, complete with some background info and photos. They’ll be coming back next year as there will likely be a bill to advocate for. Virginia could become the first state to implement eating disorder screenings in public schools, taking an important first step in prevention and intervention!
Read about how it went and what the future of this effort might be here!
Figured since Tumblr seems to be a world in and of itself, I’d put this up here on its own. This is an interview I did in November 2011 with Nate Eaton of WRIC Channel 8 on eating disorders in men and the roughly two years I suffered from anorexia while in college. I’m now fully recovered and spend a lot of my free time and energy doing eating disorder advocacy and activist work. I’m especially fond of the dynamic in this interview created by the fact that it’s a male reporter interviewing a male survivor.
I personally want to see the greater eating disorder conversation move away from being so split over things like gender. Men are underrepresented as it is, and too often it’s treated as new information that men can and do suffer from eating disorders just the same as women. As long as men are left out, left behind, or remain in the footnotes, the field as a whole cannot advance.
Just a quick post to let everyone know that the National Eating Disorders Association will be hosting it’s second state-level Lobby Day with the VA General Assembly on Wednesday, January 18. If you’re a Virginia resident, please consider attending.