By Jeanette Suros–Eating disorders are a serious and complex disease, but those who don’t know much about eating disorders look at them as a set of behaviors. It’s important to understand that eating disorders aren’t really about food or weight, but are a way to mask deeper issues.
During my sick days, I was triggered by others saying that eating disorders are a life choice or wishing they had an eating disorder to look like an A-list celebrity. They had no idea that I was destroying my body from the inside out. Now that I’ve found my voice, I’ve chosen to use it to spread eating disorders awareness. Here’s how you can get started, too!
1. Start a fundraiser and donate proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association.
Fundraising for eating disorders awareness increases understanding and education. You’ll have the chance to explain to others why NEDA’s mission is so important. You can create flyers and pamphlets and recruit passionate volunteers. Remember, those who volunteer are also getting educated! You never know who you might encounter at these fundraisers. Most likely, you’ll meet people in recovery or inspire others to seek help.
2. Form a support group.
There aren’t a lot of support groups out there, especially on college campuses. Forming a support group can be a good way to inspire students to start speaking out about eating disorders and sharing their personal experiences. Eating disorders thrive in secrecy, but when there is an open door for help and support, those suffering can start the recovery process. Talk to your counseling/wellness center to find out how you can help start a support group on your campus.
3. Start a Proud2Bme On Campus group.
Creating your own Proud2Bme On Campus group requires time and commitment, but it is so worth it! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can join the Proud2Bme On Campus network. You’ll be on your way to educating students and faculty about eating disorders and helping students on campus become more confident in their own skin. Isn’t that awesome?
4. Participate in a NEDA Walk.
NEDA Walks are a great way to bring people together to spread eating disorders education and awareness. You can create and post promotional NEDA Walk flyers in your town and school, talk to your network about donating to NEDA and recruit teammates for a NEDA Walk. To find a NEDA Walk in your area, click here.
5. Blog about eating disorders recovery.
Writing can be an essential tool in recovery. Whether you start a free blog on WordPress or Tumblr or decide to submit a piece to Proud2Bme (contact email@example.com to find out how you can get started), blogging is an excellent way to speak out about eating disorders and share your personal story. The more blog posts that are out there, the more supported those who are struggling will feel—and there is nothing more worthwhile than using your voice to help others!