28 February 2018

Freedom Socks and Finding YoursELF #SockItToEatingDisorders

Dobby is now FREE on Etsy and ready to SOCK IT for Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018! I wanted to fundraise for BEAT this year, but realised that running a Marathon could be a little counter-productive.... So instead, I've turned to HP and CREATIVITY. After all, both of those things have been a light for me in the darkest times of anorexia (credit to Albus for the metaphor)... and who better to #SockItToEatingDisorders than Dobby? *Except perhaps Dumbledore*

£1 from every sale of this print will be donated to BEAT and I really hope it can make some difference, however small. Yet even if I only raise £1 (Millie loves Dobby, so I'm sure she'll be interested), this print is about far more than fundraising. You see, it’s no secret that I’m a bit of a crazy house elf lady, but there’s actually a deeper reason for this than socks. As much as I love socks! 

*Disclaimer: some people may think this post ischeesier than Cheddar Gorge, but I know Luna Lovegood would appreciate it and that's what matters.*
I told you she loved socks
Ever since I crocheted my first Dobby as year ago, he has become something of a recovery role model for me.... I solemnly swear I am not crazy when I say this! Bear with me and I will explain. For years, Dobby is at the 24/7 beck-and-call of his 'master', a bully who orders him around and punishes him when he dares to disobey. Dobby is dehumanised and deprived a voice of his own, 

Sound familiar? Welcome to the world of HP recovery analogies (I also have one featuring bogarts and patronuses, but I'll save that for another ramble) The ED steals your freedom. It pushes you to the point where you have no voice; any attempt to defy it often leads to self-punishment; it convinces you that this is your life: “Here is your bed, so make it... and make it again... and again... oh, and do the laundry while you’re at it (but no socks included)”

It’s a cycle that seems endless, but it can end. Dobby gains his freedom and so can you; so can you; so, I still believe, can anyone with an eating disorder. Even if my own head doubts this at time, I do believe it's never too late. However, it can't be done on words alone, which brings me onto the question for this #EDAW2018: “Why Wait?”

A recent study showed that it takes approximately 149 weeks for those experiencing symptoms of an ED to seek help. That is nearly THREE YEARS; over 1000 days with a 24/7 antagonist in your mind. A Lucius Malfoy metaphorically burning your fingers as you touch the fridge door; screaming insults as you look in the mirror, step into a room or receive a grade sheet. 1000 days of dehumanisation. 
As I said before, I strongly believe change is possible; it's never too late to stop waiting and start walking in YOUR own shoes socks.. However, it requires two things: 
   #1 SUPPORT    
In the world of HP, this was Harry and his smelly grey sock. It was SPEW and Hermione's bobble hats. Support for an eating disorder comes local help groups, support networks, national charities like BEAT and the GOVERNMENT. NHS funding, Parity of Esteem across the country, where everyone has access to the treatment they need. Those struggling with this horrific illness need to hear "YOU DESERVE MORE", rather than seeing a locked door at every turn. 

Support also comes from you, me, families and wider society. Often, support is as simple as a word of kindness; a listening ear; believing in the PERSON beyond the illness. One of the most devastating consequences of an eating disorder can be loss of identity, so it's vital that loved ones separate the person from the illness. They are NOT the same; trust me, Sophie doesn't cry in Disneyland! So how can we show kindness? Going back to the world of Harry Potter, - because that's ALAWAYS a good idea - I think of Luna's words to Dobby at Malfoy Manor. He's shocked that she speaks to him as an EQUAL, yet it's only because he's so used to being talked down to and oppressed. 

*HP Wisdom* We need more Lunas in the world (empathy) and we need more SPEW: Support Patients EveryWhere.
   #2 SELF-AWARENESS  
Dobby chooses to defy his master and do what is right, instead of what seems easy. One of the biggest misconceptions in society is that an eating disorder is a sign of "strength" - I've had comments asking how I have the "willpower" to restrict, I've read stories about people being admired for the behaviours that are torturing them. Ultimately, the strongest thing you can do is defy the voice - the master who is keeping you imprisoned - even when it feels like the most terrifying thing in the world.  

All the support in the world can't bring change; change has to be believed in by the individual themselves. I speak from personal experience. I speak as someone who still needs to remind herself of this daily, because eating disorders have a frustrating habit of questioning the most rational of arguments; I like to think I'm quite a logical person, but that still hasn't stopped me crying over unmeasured milk on occasions. I am still in the process of finding freedom. Nevertheless, I finally feel I'm starting to BELIEVE in freedom. Believe that it is possible. 

 In the words of JK Rowling, as she stood on the steps of Harvard for her commencement speech: 

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1 comment

  1. this is a wonderful post and so well written, thought and HP analogies are bril! Well done, and I am sure that your recovery process shall continue to take further & farther into healing.

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