I am so excited to be speaking at this walk!! My connection to NEDA and mental health advocacy is below. I’m passionate about eating disorder awareness and appreciate your support very much!
For starters, this organization is so wonderful, so giving and so supportive. Without NEDA hosting these walks across the country every year, I wouldn’t have had such great opportunities to meet and connect with fellow recovery warriors. There is something so special about the eating disorder recovery community in particular — there is a love and understanding for one another that I haven’t quite found anywhere else.
NEDA walks are events to come together, connect, and make a statement in our towns and cities to spread eating disorder awareness.
What I love the most about NEDA walks is the energy. It’s a wonderful day of sharing compelling stories, walking for and remembering those who have lost their battles with eating disorders, connecting with all sorts of inspiring people, marching in solidarity wearing our NEDA t-shirts to raise awareness, and ultimately, celebrating recovery.
I love these walks because I have experienced moments of sadness and fear due to my anxiety that maybe I don’t belong, but within a couple minutes of walking around the event area, I always feel a sense of relief; I feel like I’m not alone. That true feeling of togetherness is precisely why I come back year after year. We are all here for the same reason — to raise awareness for a mental illness we all know personally or through a loved one.
We ban together at NEDA walks in spite of the eating disorder.
We come together at NEDA walks to remember hope.
If you don’t know much about mental illness or eating disorders, you may assume we’re out here being dramatic. The truth is that we’re out here because of assumptions like that. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening mental illnesses. Eating disorders are battles and treatment often costs a fortune. But we are here to show everyone that recovery is possible and that we want changes in legislation so treatment is more affordable and accessible.
Everyone deserves recovery.
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I’m taking the next step (not even sorry for that pun!) in my recovery and speaking at the Central NJ #NEDAWalk on the 22nd — yes, we are exactly two weeks away! When I was in the depths of my eating disorder, public speaking was a goal I had always kept in the back of my mind for the day I felt more ready. I still have worries and fears, but honestly, it’s just part of the process. My voice could be shaky, I could speed up my speech due to anxiety, or I could forget to fully exhale after each sentence, and that is ok! A theme I’ve noticed with eating disorders is how many sufferers struggle with perfectionism. I struggled with that, but in a less traditional sense — I would refuse to try anything new due to crippling anxiety, fearful of making mistakes and not being as good as others. If that makes me “lazy” or “pathetic” in the eyes of others who don’t want to understand mental illness, once again, that is ok with me! I’ve learned that my struggles are valid. People who don’t know you don’t get to dictate who you are and how real a struggle is. As a fat person in recovery, I’m also very vocal of how weight loss/gain doesn’t equal “sickness” or “recovered”. I’ll be speaking about how these different aspects intertwined with my struggles and how ultimately, I reclaimed a lot that was meant to shame me. As anxious as I am for this event, I’m so excited! I’m road-tripping with two good friends there and I can’t wait to meet new friends! Overall, I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made to get here. I’m not perfect and I don’t think I’m the best person ever! I just think that pride is important to take in because we often undermine our triumphs. I’m always filled with joy to share my stories with you because those of us in recovery get to hold onto hope for everyone else who hasn’t found their way yet, and I think that’s really beautiful and special; we’re here to show you that you’re capable and worthy, too. You don’t have to work yourself sick to try to be perfect. You don’t have to hide yourself away to escape the fear of never measuring up. Show up as you are. You are enough. [@neda walk details in my bio]