National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

As a person who struggled with an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, I spent nearly a decade lying. 

I lied about how much I was eating, I lied about how often I was eating, and I lied about what I was doing after I was eating.

I lied about how much I was drinking, I lied about how often I was drinking, and I lied about my ability to stop once I started drinking. 

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I started research about job descriptions, work environments, and eating disorders after one friend asked for my opinion about a job position she was interested in applying for. She wrote: “If you were an employer looking for A+ candidates, would you say, after looking at my resume, that I was a perfect fit?” I knew my friend didn’t usually use a superlative like “perfect,” which made me curious and I simply assumed that as an active job seeker, she must have picked it from job descriptions.

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This week marks the annual Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its supporters dedicate themselves to spreading awareness and understanding of mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy. 

Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness, so taking a week to highlight the importance of mental illness awareness is necessary and vital. In honor of this week, here are some reasons why talking about mental illness is so important:

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“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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I think about where I am in starting The Cashmere Foundation, an organization that brings spa experiences into hospitals, one year in. And honestly, I compare it so much to where I was one year in my recovery. It was 11 years ago when I was 18. I had just reached my goal weight and was getting ready to move to New York. I was this new person, the person I was meant to be, someone who would continue to evolve, but the foundation was there. 

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I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was a prescription drug addict, an alcoholic, and sick all of the time. She was also a compulsive overeater. My father was a very violent man. When I was just a little five-year-old, I witnessed his violence in a really traumatic incident. After this event, I can consciously remember the start of my eating disorder when I was a child. Throughout my early life and into adulthood, I had issues with food.

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Content note: descriptions of suicide and suicidal ideation.

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“Family is everything.”
“Who can you depend on if you don’t have family?”
“Blood is thicker than water.”

These words of “wisdom” are drilled into many of us from the time we’re young. They litter Instagram feeds as graphic quotes and acquaintances utter them without thinking twice. However, not all of us are so fortunate to consider our familial relationships a source of pride and comfort. 

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College is an exciting time. For the first time, you are an adult living on your own, making decisions and new friends, and starting to take a large step toward your future. You are excited, and also overwhelmed. Frankly, you are freaked out! 

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September is Suicide Prevention Month, which can mean a lot of different things for many people. For some, it’s a painful reminder of losing a loved one to suicide. For mental health professionals, it’s a time to advocate for screening and preventive services. For many people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, September may be an opportunity to seek help; it may also be a time that is just as challenging as the previous month to know who to reach out to, and feel comfortable doing so. 

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