National Eating Disorders Association

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?

Body positivity is an important part of who I am, since I’ve struggled with body image for most of my life. I came to learn about the body positive movement within the last couple of years, and now, instead of picking apart what I see in the mirror, I am thankful for my body because of all the things it can do. 

On the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death on August 31st, 1997, her legacy is still prevalent in the mental health community. This influence has been dubbed the “Diana Effect,” and is a result of the courage she had to share her story. 

In many cases, trauma can be a trigger for an eating disorder. The Princess of Wales was involved in a complicated marriage with Prince Charles. This, combined with the intense pressure of the media, marked the beginning of the Princess’ struggle with bulimia. 

On August 24, 2017, the State of Illinois enacted Public Act 100-0305, which amends the Illinois Insurance Code to afford greater protection to individuals suffering from eating disorders by expanding the mandatory health insurance coverage available to treat such conditions. The law was introduced as HB 1332 by State Representative Laura Fine (Glenview); and after passage in the Illinois House of Representatives, was sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Senator Jule Morrison (Deerfield).  

After MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday, a speech given by Pink has gone viral as an inspiration to young girls everywhere, as well as an example for parents. Amongst the political statements that were trending throughout the evening, Pink’s acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award was a refreshing reminder of the importance of positive body image.