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  • Shannon Brault

NEDA Week 2021



IT'S NATIONAL EATING DISORDER AWARENESS WEEK MY LOVES!


It’s amazing when you’re able to look back and see all the progress you’ve made. To be in a place where you are genuinely proud of where you are and what you have accomplished, even when it feels like you’re not anywhere near your dreams, is a special feeling I will hold onto for as long as I can.


I’m going to keep this NEDA week post short and sweet. This week is about uplifting other people who have gone through the hell of eating disorders, and working towards a world where no one has to experience this -- especially alone.


Seven years ago I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder at 13 years old. I was an awkward kid trying to make sense of a world that felt like it was constantly telling me I was not enough. I felt alone. Isolated. And overall misunderstood. The way that many adults and people around me handled it, and just the sheer weight of the atrocity that it is, caused a lasting trauma that I am just starting to work through now. I decided then that if I made it through, I would make sure that other people didn’t have to go through the same things that I did.


I have realized over the years that this need to care for others and support them in the ways that I wanted at that time resulted in me searching for love from people that were never going to give it to me. I gave everything that I had in everything in my life (relationships and otherwise) to avoid spending time with myself. Of course, this caught up with me -- as it always does. The thing that I am most proud of today is just how far I’ve come in realizing that supporting others doesn't mean that I then don’t have to support myself. We all deserve a strong support system, but at the base of that system is you.


Seven years later, I am about a week away from being officially discharged from my second round of eating disorder treatment that I started senior year of high school. Starting college and going through a pandemic have thrown temporary detours in my recovery, but we’re back on track. Some days and times of year are still so incredibly hard for me, but I am proud to say that I am not considered to have an active eating disorder anymore.


While I know that it is amazing that I am in a place now that I have been able to openly talk about my struggles even more over the past two years, I know that there are so many people in my life that are struggling, whether I know who or not. Eating disorders affect all genders, nationalities, races, ethnicities, ages, sexualities, and personality types. They are common and they are deadly.


I want to encourage you this week (and every week after) to educate yourself on how to take care of yourself, talk to others going through an eating disorder and ED recovery, and how to prevent eating disorders from taking more lives. A great place to start is at withall.org and whattosaynow.org. Take the pledge to end harmful diet talk and continue to support those in your life.


I am so thankful to be here today and to have the support system that I have. I could not have done it without it.


Much love,


Shannon


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