24 February 2015

I Had No Idea

I had no idea that food could become so tied to self-worth.

I had no idea that the a slice of bread could provoke tears.

I had no idea that I could not simply eat normally again; recovery is a long process that requires so much mental and physical strength.

I had no idea how quickly and unconsciously an eating disorder can take hold.

I had no idea that, despite reaching such a good place in recovery, it can take hold again. Recovery is not a linear process; it takes, on average, 6 years from onset to fully recover.

I had no idea that the mortality rate for anorexia is 20%, with only 40% reaching a state of full recovery. I am resolute that I will be in this 40%. 

I had no idea how deceptive and narrow-minded an eating disorder makes you.

I had no idea how much I could lose to this illness.

I had no idea that a mental illness could be equally, if not more, destructive than my underlying chronic illness. 

I had no idea the prevalence of eating disorders in type one diabetes. Diabetes UK estimates that 1 in 3 T1Ds will struggle with some form of an eating disorder. I had no idea, despite the prevalence, how little awareness there is of this comorbidity.

I had no idea how unnecessarily restrictive I was around food, as a type one diabetic.

I had no idea how great an impact my eating disorder was having on those around me.

I had no idea how truly strong and understanding my family would be, never giving up on me and tirelessly supporting me through both illnesses.

I had no idea the extent of the stigma surrounding mental health.

I had no idea how much I may have misperceived mental illness in the past.

I had no idea that mental health resources in this country were so under-provided for.

I had no idea how much the media propagates misinformation regarding diabetes management.

I had no idea how much the media, despite progress, still stereotypes anorexia and other eating disorders.

If I had no idea, than nor potentially do millions of others out there.

Please watch my video for #timetotalk on the importance of early intervention, which includes a call for greater mental health funding, specifically for eating disorders. I wouldn't be told to wait 3 months for insulin. An Eating Disorder was no more a choice than Type One Diabetes. While recovery does come down to personal actions, a support system is often vital for taking those first steps away from the illness. 

It is time to talk, but it is also time to act. 

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