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Why we need to talk about eating disorders

A while ago, only a short three years after her appearance on the Great British Bake Off, I discovered Ruby Tandoh through her tweets raising awareness for Beat’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week. And obviously, I now love her. At this point in my ~road to recovery~ I read her tweets with a virtual fist pump and appreciation, and the solemn nod that comes from someone saying the things you would never be able to say yourself, out loud, to another human being.

And this got me thinking that it was posts like this, tweets, blogs, and Instagram accounts, that were the catalyst of each stage of my eating disorder, that once made me feel much more than wanting to high five the author. From realising I had a problem in the first place, to very, very slowly nudging me to accept it as a quite large and nasty thing that I would like to change, reading the experiences of others gave me courage and drive to seek support. Back in 2013 it was Emily Troskianko’s blog ‘The Hunger Artist’ on Psychology Today that I followed and reread like a stalker, over and over again, and even when I was incapable of making steps for my own recovery, that gave me hope that it was possible, and would be better. And it was the voices of blogs like this that kept me determined, and validated my disorder for me despite the very lacking experience I had when I visited the GP, who stared blankly, asked me to get on the scales, and when I refused said she would put me on a very long and unpromising waiting list. Which I never heard back from. In three years.

Now, of course, I know lots of experiences with GPs or support services are beaming and brilliant. But I also know (anecdotally – please don’t quote me), that lots of others are not. Couple this with the fact that eating disorders are often quite private affairs (for me, I spoke to no one, and would have password protected it if I could) it is invaluable to read advice and understanding from people who can promise it is worth each step of progress or demoralising visit to the doctor’s.

So I suppose you could say that this is a love letter to Ruby Tandoh. But really what I am trying to say is: share your experiences! You never know who could be reading it, and how it will help.

Contributed by Emily