When I started @iamdaniadriana five years ago, I never thought that I would amass nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. My dream when I started @iamdaniadriana was to give a voice to those who have felt marginalized from the eating disorder community, people who have felt let down or ignored in the past as they didn’t fit the “typical” look of someone with an eating disorder.
During my eating disorder and my childhood, I was overweight, and even though I had a very dangerous eating disorder and mental illness issues, I was turned away from help and/or not believed due to my weight time and time again.
This left me feeling isolated and alone and pushed me further into my eating disorder. Originally, my account was called @Chooselifewarrior, and it was born after being in recovery for one year. My best friend always said to “choose life” and what that meant to me was choosing to eat, choosing to recover, and choosing to continue to fight my eating disorder. That is where the name @Chooselifewarrior came from.
Recently, I made the huge jump into reclaiming more of myself and subsequently changing my Instagram and socials to my name Dani Adriana = @iamdaniadriana. Over the last five years, I feel that my account has grown into a flourishing community of support, authenticity, and advocacy for people in marginalized bodies who are struggling or have struggled with an eating disorder.
The responses I have gotten online from sharing my story have ranged from support to hatred. Unfortunately, there are still major fatphobic biases, not only in society, but also among eating disorder communities. For me, that gives me even more passion to share my story and reach people in bodies who feel like they don’t fit the typical recovered/suffering body type.
Despite the hatred you find on my account at times, there has also been an amazing response of love and support. Having people share their struggles and achievements as well as their mental illness experience with me has been overwhelming. I feel so honored to have the community I have and the online support I have received. By sharing my fat body, which continues to push societal standards and give hope to other larger bodied people, brings me such pride.
This intense online ride has not been without its challenges. Sharing something as intimate as my eating disorder has been harrowing and wonderful at the same time. I think the thing that has gotten me through is my desire to give strength to others and make sure other people don’t feel alone like I did during my darkest times.
One of the things I have continued to work on and build is my belief in myself. Believing in yourself, especially during recovery from an eating disorder, is integral to gaining a solid foundation of self-love and body respect. Continual therapy and having a support system in place has allowed myself belief to flourish. I hope that my content continues to educate, inspire, give knowledge, and support to others.
It is very important to me that organizations like NEDA continue to spotlight diversity, inclusion, and differences in voices, advocacy, and influencers within the online and offline communities of eating disorder recovery. I hope that in the future, those affected by eating disorders feel confident and supported enough to reach out, regardless of their weight. I will continue to be a point of call online for those who are feeling scared, alone, or isolated because of their eating disorder.
I want to leave this blog post with a message to anyone reading this who has felt like no one might believe that they are struggling with an eating disorder. Please reach out! Your experiences and struggles are valid and important. You are important. Never stop trying and remember there are so many communities waiting for you with open arms to offer support.
Danielle Galvin is an Australia fat activist who uses her online platforms to create community, support and education regarding eating disorder recovery, body positivity and self-love online and in the real world.