National Eating Disorders Association
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In honor of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM), as a result of the dedicated efforts of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), I wanted to share my personal experience of the connection between sexual assault, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anorexia Nervosa (AN), and recovery. 

This past National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, advocates and educators came together to bring about many firsts for the state of Pennsylvania. It was the first year that a governor declared a proclamation recognizing National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 25th to March 4th, 2018. Also, the first eating disorder seminar, led by Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine and the Department of Health occurred on the same day. It was an exciting day for eating disorder advocates!

Her eyes flickered as they made contact with mine. Finally, she exclaimed, “I’ve never seen anything like it; your dexa-scan is like that of an 80-year-old, or even older! As her words sunk in, I looked down at my hands, ashamed at the state of my 29-year-old body. “So, then what happens as I grow older?” I nervously questioned, unsure if I really wanted an answer. 

Plastic surgery is not a game - unless you’re a young child with access to a smartphone. Hundreds of cosmetic surgery apps featuring child-friendly, animated characters are available for download via Google, Apple, and Amazon. Using medical tools like scalpels and syringes, children can slice apart the bodies of cartoon princesses and mermaids until they are “perfect.”

NEDA’s first Regional Conference will take place Saturday, May 12 at Drexel University. #NEDACon is designed to bring together individuals and loved ones who are experiencing eating disorders or wanting to learn more about eating and body image issues.

If struggling with an eating disorder has ever left you feeling isolated or “different” than the people around you, or if you’ve ever looked around and realized that you’re recovering into a culture that can be unsupportive and even hostile to the healthy attitudes and habits you’re working to adopt, then give yourself the gift of attending a NEDA conference.

“Let’s go out to eat.” The words immediately used to trigger a thousand thoughts. Which excuse do I use this time? Do I have homework? Am I busy? Maybe I don’t feel well? Or maybe this time I should just go so no one gets suspicious? 

Those were only a very few of the thoughts that went through my head when someone would ask me to go out to eat when I was in the darkest place of my eating disorder.

Here at NEDA, we find it vital to recognize the unique experiences of individuals from different communities who are affected by eating disorders and sexual assault. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we've compiled a list of helpful resources, support posts, and self-care tips catered to those who have been affected and/or have loved ones who are survivors. 

Siblings are our longest relationships. Often, a sibling is our first best friend. We love them deeply, hate them at moments and know both their strengths and weaknesses.

When a sibling has an eating disorder, there is an impact, but what is it exactly? 

Two and a half years ago, I arrived in sunny San Diego, not knowing a single soul in the area and certainly not knowing what I would experience over the next few days. 

I was in town for the annual NEDA Conference, the first one I had ever attended. I remember feeling exceedingly nervous -- would I find people to talk to? Would I learn anything? I had no basis as to what I would experience. Luckily, I had an amazing time, and consider the conference one of the most valuable experiences of my personal and professional life to date. 

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