National Eating Disorders Association

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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As we walked into class, my friend looked up from her phone and delicately said, “It’s up.” I knew exactly what that meant. I ran to the back of a packed law school classroom and glued myself into a chair, gripping the sides of the seat in horror. All of Humans of New York’s 18 million followers were about to learn about my eating disorder.

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Compare [kuh m-pair]: to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences. ex. to compare two pieces of cloth; to compare the governments of two nations.

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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.

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“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.

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Fiction, known to offer many an escape from reality, has also developed into a way for individuals to see themselves in literature. We are so lucky the literary world has moved beyond just entertainment to a place of identification and comfort for so many with unique experiences. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, I wanted to share a handful of books that not only may have resonated with my eating disorder, but are also prime examples of themes to be emulated in future fictitious works when tackling eating disorder recovery and/or body positivity.

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Katie Green’s book, Lighter Than My Shadow, is a graphic memoir unlike any other. It tells the story of her battle with eating disorders, abuse, and recovery in an extremely compelling manner. The striking contrast between Katie’s “cutesy” art work, raw images, and taboo topics makes for an honest portrayal of the darkness we battle in recovery, but there is a balanced sense of hope. We had the chance to sit down with Katie to discuss her work, how art was an outlet in recovery for her and what drove her to share her story through this platform.

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Every August, my family takes a vacation to Cape Cod. It was something I looked forward to every year, but in the years my eating disorder was in control, I started to dread it. 

Vacations are supposed to be about fun and relaxation, but for me they became a huge source of stress. Not knowing what we would be doing or eating next was a huge challenge to face without anxiety, and it took time and practice in my recovery to learn to let go and truly enjoy myself. 

Here are some strategies you can try to help combat stress and negative thinking on vacation:

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I’ve always known that I was a writer. I was the kid with an overactive imagination and a knack for weaving my thoughts into convincing stories, and I was so hopelessly in love with writing that I could see no other way to live. I am writer, utterly unfit to do anything else. 

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For 21 seasons, The Bachelor has invited viewers into the infamous mansion to follow the love story between two people. We as the audience sit at home, critique, judge, and become infatuated with the lives of these strangers, holding our breath as each rose is passed out until the bachelor has found the love of his life. 

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