NEDAwareness: Day 1
Today starts National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. My goal this week is to be real, raise awareness, and help others to see that Eating Disorders are not only prevalent, they are rampant.
To start I have attached an infographic to this post describing the prevalence of males and eating disorders.
10 million males in the United States alone.
This is not a small pandemic across a few isolated cities. Eating disorders have turned epidemic and we need to work together to raise awareness and make treatment options available.
When I was in the depths of my anorexia the toughest thing for me to find was help. I was a male with an eating disorder and most treatment centers told me to look else where. Finally, I found Roger’s Memorial Hospital which, after my initial assessment, demanded me to be checked-in within 24 hours. I was in severe condition.
However, even though Roger’s accepted me, insurance did not. Insurance told me that I was “healthy” and “did not need treatment.” Finally, they agreed to 10 days of inpatient care. Period.
I can tell you what solely 10 days in an inpatient facility will do: get me crabby from caffeine withdrawal start re-feeding my body putting it into revolt full of constant sickness, and make me follow rules just long enough for me to leave and go on a 2 hour run. That is what only 10 days was going to do for me.
However, thanks to my amazing supportive family and (now wife) fiance I was able to remain in treatment for 6 months and take ACTUAL steps towards recovery. They fundraised, applied for scholarships, and took out second mortgages. I was,and am, incredibly blessed. By the grace of God and their hard work I was discharged from the hospital when they deemed I was ready, not when insurance decided I was at X-% of my “ideal body weight.”
This is a problem so many people with eating disorders are facing: access to treatment. Mental illness is incredibly stigmatized in the American culture and it is time we take a stand against this stigmatism. It is time we recognize that mental illnesses are not a choice. They are just as real and deadly as cancer or leukemia. We need to work together to get insurance companies to realize that by not providing coverage they are sentencing thousands of people to death.
Anorexia was not my choice. It is my affliction.
It is my affliction and I am now ready to use my past to raise awareness in the present and fight for the future. I want others to be able to live the same joyous life that I have been given. To take an active step in loving, accepting, and fighting for themselves.
Take a Leap today and stand up for what you know is right. For me, I fight for awareness that being in recovery from an Eating Disorder is possible and I desperately desire for those who need help to get the help they need.