Overcoming Eating Disorders #1LifeAtATimeWe are not creating this campaign to start a battle —against the stigma, the myth, the misinformation, and the silence that keeps us from talking about eating disorder recovery openly and honestly but as an empowering challenge to build awareness through ambassadorship. Ultimately, it is a challenge overcome one person at a time: Advocacy happens not en masse, but through individual hearts and minds opened to the seriousness of eating disorders and the reality of the recovery process. You’ll be hearing more and more about this in the months to come, as Castlewood rolls out the #1LifeAtATime campaign—an advocacy and awareness-building campaign that we’ll be engaged with on social media and beyond. The gist of this campaign is simple: We want to spotlight the power that a single person can make in cultivating understanding and in challenging the stigma by helping the world see you or a loved one beyond the eating disorder by sharing, who they are as a human being, not a statistic or label.; we want to highlight the ripple effect that occurs when a single life is touched by eating disorder awareness.
Awareness and AmbassadorshipIndeed, it really is a ripple effect. As we educate people about what eating disorders are, about how treatment works, and about how recovery is possible, we are keenly aware of how meaningful it is to change a single person’s thinking on the issue. Consider this. A father knows very little about eating disorders, and has frankly never had much reason to consider the subject. Then the unthinkable happens: His teenage son is diagnosed with an eating disorder, and enters into recovery for it. Of course that father is going to spend some time studying up on how eating disorders impact the mind and the body, and on how treatment can facilitate meaningful, life-long recovery. From there, his personal knowledge and awareness is likely to compound. Armed with facts and true information about eating disorder recovery, that father may very well become an ambassador of the recovery process—sharing articles on Facebook, volunteering to speak at a local support group, or simply passing along what he has learned to friends and to family members. The point is that knowledge will not stop with him. He won’t keep it hidden. Having broken down his own misconceptions about eating disorders, he’ll now work to break down the misconceptions held by others. He will become an advocate, and hopefully create more advocates all around him. That’s the power of a single life, and the importance of changing just one person’s thinking.
What Can You Do Today?There’s a lot more to talk about, and a lot of specifics to get into, with regard to the #1LifeAtATime campaign. Starting in October, you’ll see us announcing new, month-long, topics that relate back to this overarching theme, including some ways you can get involved. For today, though, you may be asking: What can you do to make a difference? How can you help us in overcoming eating disorders, one life at a time? There is never any shortage of opportunities to get involved—and remember, even a small gesture that impacts a single person can have a far bigger impact than you might imagine.
- Share information on Social Media. Cut through the myths that abound about eating disorders, and offer factual information or positive information about people with mental illness
- Start a #1LifeAtATime support group. Find creative and positive ways to build awareness and ambassadorship.
- Educate with compassion by sharing facts and your experience when addressing tough topics concerning mental healthcare.
- Help the world see you or a loved one beyond the eating disorder by sharing, who they are as a human being, not a statistic or label.
- If you are in recovery and feel ready, share your story. Be honest about your struggle, and what keeps you hopeful in recovery.
- Use social media to promote content that defies stigma and helps people to truly understand the indiscriminate nature of an eating disorder.
- If a friend or loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, take a minute to put yourself in their position. How would you want someone to support you? Ask them how you can best support them.
- Remind them that they are worthy of recovery, he/she is not alone, and that recovery is possible!
- Be an ambassador of hope; fight back against the prevailing notion that eating disorders can be terminal.
- Spread the love! People who struggle with eating disorders also suffer from lack of self-esteem and need to be reminded that they are deserve love even when they are currently struggling with an eating disorder.