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Gemma
07 September 2020 @ 02:08 pm


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Gemma
02 March 2011 @ 01:22 am
I've had a few run-ins lately with one of B-eat's ambassadors. B-eat, the UK's biggest eating disorder awareness charity, has embarked upon a new campaign fighting for the end to stereotypes when it comes to recognising eating disorders. They have been spreading the message throughout EDAW - Eating Disorder Awareness Week, that people with EDs come in all shapes and sizes. Not only that, but it is dangerous to assume that just because someone looks 'ok' or healthy, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ok. Or healthy. In fact, they could look perfectly fine & yet be putting their lives in danger every day.

I am one of those 'regular' looking people. I suffered for over 10 years with my eating disorders which ran from anorexia at the beginning, to bulimia (non purging type) & finally bulimia nervosa. At no point did I ever really look sick. I went through a time where I was slim, but never really entered the BMI range for anything other than normal. I looked perfectly fine.

I am telling you this because I, obviously, wasn't fine. In fact, I was far from it. At the beginning I was barely eating, skipping meals & walking for miles every day. As if that wasn't enough, I then began abusing several different types of drugs to 'improve' my weightloss, these ranged from caffeine pills, laxatives & the ultimately dangerous OTC drug that I am never really comfortable talking about. These drugs all had negative effects on my insides, but these issues were never really viewable from the outside. Sure, I may have looked a little tired, but doesn't everyone doing their A-Levels? The extent of the problems caused by these drugs may not be noticeable for many years to come, but the current issues I have gained from those magical weightloss pills are chronic IBS that can have me laid up in bed for DAYS & a heart that regularly skips beats and aches from time to time. 

I managed to wean myself off these drugs, only to fall into the pit of purging - vomiting. I could no longer abuse the medication before as I would literally feel as though I was dying whenever I took them. (I still can't drink coffee). This was, perhaps, my most stupid of moves. But still, I have perfect teeth & a body that you would never suspect had been ravaged by years of abuse. It made my heart slightly worse & I get god-awful heartburn every now & then.. But in all honesty, I don't think I was too badly effected by my many years of ED abuse. 

The problem is this: You can't see my scars. You don't know what I went through to get to where I am in my life. My head is full of pain for the life I lost, the friends & family that dropped me because it was just too difficult. I mourn the loss of the life I wanted every single damn day. But no one sees this part of me. The most damage I did was to my brain. My mind. I have scars on my arms from self harm, trying desperately to not kill myself & I have an overweight body that masks the years of abuse. But I went through it.

It is important for B-eat to make people aware of those, like me, who are struggling. Not only are they struggling with themselves, but also with those around them to take them seriously. That just because they don't fit the media-induced stereotypes, they aren't in as much danger as those who do.

This particular ambassador got to me the other day by putting a description on her Twitter account of some fat chavs crossing the street. This wouldn't be a problem if, earlier on in the day, she hadn't gone on live radio to tell the world about the dangers of that very 3 letter word. Fat. Why use that to describe a person? It wasn't necessary & who's to say that they didn't have eating disorders? Fat is a dangerous 3 letter word. She was called on this by 3 separate people, who she directed to her online journal with the Independent telling us all that we need to learn to laugh at our eating disorders. 

While I can understand the need for each person to cope with his or her illness in their own way, I do not feel it appropriate to push these coping strategies upon others. I doubt that the people who have lost their loved ones to these illnesses would want to laugh and joke about the damage done. I sure as hell don't want to! I have lost people to this disease and to other mental health problems. I certainly cannot laugh about it. If anything, I wish for courage to be able to tell people about my struggle to empower others to be able to speak up about theirs. To seek help. To get better. & most importantly, to live.

The young ambassador then went on to tell her Twitter followers that she thought Adele (The singer) has a bum-chin. Again, not a very good message to send out to her followers, most of whom have eating disorders, some of which are overweight. I don't feel she is suitable to be an ambassador if she is going to spread these ridiculous mixed messages around the internet. Surely she ought to be practising what she is preaching?

I am getting closer to making a complaint about her behaviour and was, in fact, about to do that but the website appears to be down at the moment. Perhaps I will just send them a copy of this journal entry.

It is impossible to measure a person's pain by looking at their waist. We all need to be aware of this.
 
 
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