National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is coming to a close, and I am incredibly proud of all of my friends, males and females alike, who have suffered through and conquered their disorders, made peace with their bodies, and have found health and happiness in themselves. You are more beautiful than you know.
But I'd also like to remind everyone else of a few important things.
We can be painfully unaware of the gravity of eating disorders, and the impact they have on the lives of not only the ill, but their families as well. We tend to poke fun at or think less of those who suffer eating disorders, and reduce them to terms like "shallow" and "insecure." It is incredibly difficult for others to look to you for support when they've most likely overheard you throwing around this kind of attitude fairly casually when referring to others. We must remember that our assumptions barely scratch the surface, and that everyone who suffers with ED is fighting something, whether it's a lack of control in their own lives, or the modern standard of beauty that we subconsciously perpetuate.
I firmly believe that all of my friends are flawless because they are fascinating, generous, brave, empathetic, hilarious and talented people. I also firmly believe that all of us have friends who are silently suffering through ED, who have yet to seek out help or support. Please accept the fact that you can lend an ear without knowing all the answers or being able to solve every problem, because that's just life. It takes a support system, not a crutch, to recover from an ED, and it's a long and trying process. Reconsider the way you view eating disorders and the people who have them. Take this week, and every other week, to be supportive and proud of those who are brave enough to confront ED by confronting themselves, because it means being more courageous than most of us will ever be.