As A Mental-Health Advocate, I’m Still Ashamed Of My Binge-Eating Disorder

I am still afraid to admit that I am living with an eating disorder. Even after speaking about mental health for seven years, over 600 times to a combined audience of over one million people, I am still scared to talk about binge-eating disorder.

Why?

It is the most common eating disorder facing Canadians, but rarely talked about publicly. People who deal with it, like me, often eat large amounts of food, usually in secret, and have a really hard time communicating our struggles to professionals and family because of the stigma around overeating.

When I first started speaking about mental health in 2010, I felt that I had conquered depression, anxiety, and suicide. At that time, I was surrounded by friends, succeeding in university and was finding my voice in advocacy. I was getting the positive attention I never thought was possible for someone like me. As I started to head down a road where speaking on stage, hearing people’s stories and talking to the media became my norm, my eating also spiralled out of control.

Here is a little insight about me. On an average day, I go on stage at a conference, local school or event and share the hardest parts of my life to educate and support others. I then listen to stories of our mental health system failing those in need, I help some of those people get resources, or share in a general frustration that resources are not available. I then go to my job, where I hear more stories of the mental health system failing and attempt to fight the systematic barriers that exist to build something better. I sometimes do this from the comfort of my home, but often from hotel rooms in many different cities across the world. Sometimes, I will be called to talk about my story and my call for change in the media. While this work is rewarding, it is often very stressful.

When I am stressed, my solution is to stay in my house and eat all day. Sometimes, I don’t even notice how much I am eating or that I am eating at all.

So, that’s when I turn to food. In a way, I have always turned to food in times of stress, but until recently, there were also people around me. People to watch Netflix with and talk me through my feelings. Since my life has taken this unique path,

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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