Eating Disorder Awareness Week February 1 - 7, 2021
Author: Katrina Wilson M.A. RPC
Last year, the theme for Eating Disorder Awareness Week was “Eating disorders can’t afford to wait”. Throughout 2020 that seems to be all that we’ve been doing – waiting. The pandemic threw the world into a tizzy, and with lockdowns throughout the world, access to care was made even more difficult for those who desperately needed it. This year from February 1 - 7, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre is focusing EDAW on what happened while we were waiting.
There are already so many barriers to accessing care for eating disorders, and 2020 augmented and added to the list. We have heard from many people who have struggled to find funding, been wary of travelling for residential care, and who have struggled financially because of losing work with the pandemic.
NEDIC and its partners are committed to creating a better system for accessing care, and for instilling motivation and hope for those who are struggling. We know that pursuing recovery is hard, and there are many sacrifices that need to be made, including time and money. We also know that everyone deserves help and shouldn’t have to wait for the conditions to be “right”. It is possible to take action now, in whatever way possible.
Recovery happens incrementally, with smaller changes adding up to significant accomplishments and progress. While the wait for care can instill hopelessness and fuel the eating disorder, there are things that you can do to help yourself until care becomes available.
1) Unfollow unhelpful social media accounts. This is something we encourage our clients to do during their recovery, because so many people focus on weight and body in a negative way online. Instead, search out body positive content creators, recovery-focused accounts, and organizations committed to supporting others in their recovery. (For a place to start, check out the Westwind Instagram @westwindeatingdisorderrecovery for our follow list).
2) Reach out for support from your loved ones and friends. Being open about your struggle can be incredibly empowering and can show that you are not alone. Although they may not fully understand, cultivating a support system is a major step in recovery.
3) Join the eating disorder recovery community online. One of the advantages of the pandemic is that many support groups and organizations are offering their services online, sometimes free of charge. If there aren’t resources in your area, you can access groups across the country with a few clicks of the mouse. Click here for a list of NEDA’s online support groups. Westwind also offers a Facebook support group – head over to our page and request to join if you haven’t already!
4) Expose yourself to recovery positive content. There are so many podcasts, books, workbooks, and videos that are supportive of eating disorder recovery. One of our favorites is the Recovery Warriors website, which has articles, blog posts, and podcasts available for anyone to check out – find them here. Engaging with these resources can tune you into recovery-positive language, concepts, and actions.
What happened while we waited doesn’t have to be catastrophic. While we are working on change and waiting for it to take place, we can choose to turn towards what is already available. EDAW does an amazing job of spreading the word about eating disorders, and their #showusyourpurple campaign raises crucial awareness to the presence and impact of eating disorders in the world. Visit their website to find out how you can help spread the word.