Yesterday in group we discussed shame in eating disorders and mental health in general. I am sure we have all head about the Time to Change campaign which aims to reduce the stigma around mental health. The day program brought to my attention the work of Brene Brown, a research professor and author.
Brene talks a lot about shame in eating disorders and how we can only overcome it by talking about it. People can only support and understand our needs if we explain it o them. I very much believe it is hard to understand what it is like to have an eating disorder unless you are suffering from one. However, I do feel like someone with mental health issues have a better awareness of what it may be like even if they don't necessary "get it".
There are thousands of blog posts about what to say or not say with someone with an eating disorder (please note I think that these are very important and highly valuable to building the awareness of eating disorders and how to better support suffers). However, I think many of the readers are suffers themselves and/or carers, but not necessarily other individuals such as friends or co-workers. I am not saying these groups of people should or shouldn't be reading this information, as I know other people have lives or responsibilities that they need to focus on.
So what am I trying to say? I guess how do we build a sense of understanding to the people around us about eating disorders so they can better supports us and reduce the stigma around mental health. Brene says it's not necessarily speaking out to the world, but initially just choosing one or two trustworthy people in your life. If you do to have these people, them please make sure you are seeking support. The Beat website have an excellent number of resources and recommend some amazing forums and support groups in your local area.
Remember ,while discussing mental health problems are important, it shouldn't be at the detriment of your recovery!
You can find out more information about Brene Brown's views and approaches to how to tackle eating disorders here.