TW: disordered eating
It’s been hard to just come right out and say it, and its been a process of acceptance.
I’ve definitely gone through the different stages…Denial, anger, sadness, acceptance (sort of)
The more I talk about this in therapy, the more I realize that my ED has likely been manifesting itself in different ways, probably since childhood when I was deemed a “picky eater”. Growing up I was called high maintenance or dramatic for not eating certain foods or not eating my packed lunches at school, when really I think it was always more than that. I had a constant fear of getting sick, and I had this idea that food that was sitting in my lunch bag all day and out of the fridge, would make me sick. I had some safe foods, foods that I would love when my mom packed because it mean I could eat my lunch with peace of mind and not go hungry all day. Mind you, this was to no fault of my parents, because there was no way I could’ve expressed this and they just wanted me to eat and be nourished! Lunches were always my struggle area even today, I find it very difficult to eat in the middle of my day as opposed to the very beginning or the very end, and for no particular reason that I’m aware of (yet). I also think growing up a dancer and being so deeply immersed in sub-conscience diet culture and fat-phobia was definitely taking a slow toll on me (not surprised), especially in my first year of university when I was in the Ryerson dance program.
I truly believe this is where my eating disorder really started to surface…
Now I want to be clear, did the program itself cause me to have an eating disorder? No. Did the program itself severely worsen my mental health issues because of how it’s facilitated? Absolutely. And I had to make the tough decision to leave... This program is broken and an old and desperately needs to be revamped with loads of trauma-informed care and empathy.
The faculty members lack basic knowledge and training in terms of students dealing with mental health struggles (which many are), especially in such a rigorous program, and this is a huge issue.
My experience in the program included being shamed for and deemed as less capable due to my mental illnesses, lack of support, and lack of accommodations. It also included daily comments such as “suck your stomach in, I can see your breakfast, flat tummies please!”, as if these are appropriate things to say. By those examples, I’m sure you can see where my issues began to surface and worsen, and this is just a small snippet of what goes on in the program, but there will soon be a whole post on here dedicated to this topic, so keep your eyes peeled!
I’m now in my third year of university (thankfully in a different program) and only just got my ED diagnoses about 2 months ago, and I only realized that I might actually have an eating disorder about a year ago (imposter syndrome took over for about a year until I finally talked to my doctor about it). So now I find myself in a weird place between just diagnosed and recovery, but these are just labels, just words. To some people they are hugely helpful and to some they aren’t important… either one is perfectly fine! I have gently thrown myself into the online community of people who deal with ED’s and I’ve already found so much support and kindness. I am waiting on treatment (because the Canadian healthcare system is good but not great) and in the meantime am in group and individual therapy to help me cope with this new found part of me.
That's all I have for not, but more to come on this topic soon…
P.s I truly hope you’re all loving the guest post collection as much as I am!
All my love,
I'm Maddi and Im a full time student (studying Child and Youth Work), and a self proclaimed content creator. Here I have my blog and my shop, I hope you enjoy!