23rd February marks the start of Eating Disorders Awareness week, aimed to raise awareness & understanding of eating disorders, challenge the stereotypes that people have about eating disorders, and to raise funds for BEAT (Beating EAting Disorders).
BEAT is the UK’s leading charity in this area, and it supports anyone affected by an eating disorder, or any other issues related to body weight, shape and size. You can find out more information about them here. They started up in 1989 and provide many forms of support – helplines, message boards, online and local support groups, and they provide information about local support services. As well as providing support for sufferers, they can also support those who are worried about a close friend/relative they suspect may have an eating disorder.
There is still a lot of stigma around eating disorders, and a lack of understanding that they are mental illnesses, rather than being caused by someone having a ‘lack of control’ or ‘attention seeking’. BEAT work to try to counter the stereotypes that surround eating disorders.
Eating disorders take over the sufferer’s life, even though they may not realise it at the time. They are difficult and often frustrating for others to understand, and all consuming for the sufferer. It is a tiring illness, but one that you cannot escape from – it will rule your life for as long as you let it. However eating disorders are completely treatable, and the quicker they are diagnosed the easier they are to recover from. There are a huge range of treatments available, some that will work for one sufferer and not another, so it can take time to find the best strategy. Some people who suffer from an eating disorder may not want to speak about the condition, but others may actually find it a huge release to share their burden, so if you suspect that someone you know may be having difficulties, don’t avoid the subject – ask them how they are. It might be the first step in the right direction they need.
The BEAT website has loads of helpful information – please take a look here. If you want to contact us about anything that might have struck a chord, you can email me. Sometimes it helsp to know that others are going through the same thing