BENEFITING: NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSOCIATION
NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. NEDA envisions a world without eating disorders.
My sister Jeanne is leading the funraising effort for this charity. See her story below:
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my body image. I kept my preoccupation well hidden as a young child – weighing myself discretely after school – tiptoeing across the upstairs to avoid anyone knowing how I was spending my time and riding my bike for ‘fun’ for long periods of time with the secret desire to see the numbers on the scale go down. While my weight remained in a relatively healthy range for most of my elementary, middle, and high school years, my behaviors and obsessions grew more abnormal over time.
Between my junior and senior year of college I lost over fifty pounds. I started seeing counselors at school and fought off concerns from friends by agreeing to talk to a therapist regularly. I often avoided discussing the eating disorder in therapy or even acknowledging that it was real. “I’m doing better with the food” or “things with the eating have been okay” were my normal lines and then I would launch into venting about dating dilemmas, homework pressures, or my most recent conflict with my parents. I maintained a good GPA and a seemingly normal social life.
After graduation, I began working in a demanding environment with frequent travel and long hours. My weight continued to drop and my strategies to lose weight became more extreme. Slowly my life spun out of control – I lost many friends, no longer had the energy to walk to the subway every day, and started to really notice how much hair I had lost and how sick I felt a lot of the time. Even a hospitalization and potassium IV did not do much to change my behaviors. I lived in denial of how I sick I was and kept my brain focused on work and losing the next pound.
Entering into a serious relationship at 23, I found myself distraught by my own self-induced limitations. I knew I could never see a romantic relationship through in the condition I was in. How could I live with someone when I was this way? How could I expect to ever get married? How could I think of having children?
At 24, after opening up about my on-going struggle with an eating disorder to loved ones, I took a short term medical leave from work and signed myself into an inpatient program in California. This was a tremendous first step for me in my recovery, but only the beginning. I am now 26 and still confront challenges with the disease on a daily basis. My battle has been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. I know firsthand that the millions of people in the world who struggle with an eating disorder face a very difficult road to recovery. Please support NEDA and all of the wonderful efforts they make to support those with eating disorders through the recovery process.