National Eating Disorders Association

In today’s culture, social media has begun to dominate even more of our lives, and its influence can quickly turn negative, according to a new study that focuses specifically on the effects of Instagram. 

This past year, I got engaged. As a result, some days I find myself knee-deep in wedding planning sites and paying extra attention to what others are posting about their weddings on social media. What I’ve noticed breaks my heart. I keep seeing posts about people who feel devastated about how they looked in their wedding photos, their journey to lose weight for a certain event, or before-and-after photos with stories of how unhappy they were “before.” To make matters worse, my feed and inbox are often flooded with tips on “shredding for the wedding” or a pre-wedding weight loss boot camp.

You push the door open and walk into the tiny room. You hang up various articles of clothing and close the door, trapping yourself in that enclosed space with just yourself and a mirror for company. You take a deep breath and manage to look at your reflection, totally vulnerable to the fluorescent lighting and stark head-on image.

National Suicide Prevention Month is a time when we mourn the loss and celebrate the lives of those who have been taken from us by suicide, as well as raise awareness for the various precursors to suicide: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. 

August generally marks the start of school, back to hectic schedules and anticipation of what the new year might bring. To some this may bring about memories of triumphs; however, for others it could serve as a reminder of how far is left on their journey. 

Recovering from an eating disorder is a process that not only affects the ones struggling, but also the people around them, such as family and friends. The recovery process may be frustrating at times—especially during the back-to-school season—because family members or friends may not fully understand your journey or the additional stressors brought on by returning to school. Even when they have the best intentions to help you, they may not always know the right thing to say or do. Here are a few ways you can get the most support out of your loved ones as you start the school year.

All three of these times, when I made the decision to jeopardize my own existence, I truly wanted to die. In those moments, I believed that whatever I was going through – coming to terms with my sexuality, break ups, fights with friends, bad decisions – was worth ending my life. Today, as I am in a place where I am focused on my mental health and taking care of myself, looking back on those moments breaks my heart. I am so grateful that I did not succeed.

Going back to school can be filled with anxieties. For young adults, anxiety is common as they ready themselves to beginning a new chapter in their lives at a university. However, these concerns double for people with eating disorders because not only are they now faced with changes in their mealtime routines and times that they would go see their treatment team, but going away to school is a major transition. Students with eating disorders may try hard to get the perfect grades and put extra pressures on themselves, unleashing unwanted eating disordered behaviors.

The UK clothing company John Lewis recently announced a plan to remove gender labels on their children’s clothing. This decision was met with a large amount of controversy, with many people supporting the decision and others criticizing it. Overall, however, the move is a step in the right direction of supporting children and their ability to express themselves as they choose. 

It was my senior year of high school. I had spent countless weekends traveling up and down the east coast, auditioning for dance departments at prestigious colleges in the hopes of solidifying a plan for my future. I’d sit in the car, usually with my mom, in the Sunday afternoon traffic, feeling numb. Eventually, the novelty of performing my solo for these schools had worn off. I was exhausted, unenthused, drained. If I couldn’t get through a weekend of dancing, how could I get through the next four years and beyond?