This year the focus of Eating Disorders Awareness week is “Why Wait?” and this is something I feel incredibly strongly about.
I waited, I waited a good three years before seeking any help despite experiencing many of the physical and psychological symptoms. Those three years were probably some of the loneliest and most confusing of my life, and whilst speaking out and asking for support didn’t fix it, it didn’t hold all of the answers but it took away that desolation and desperation that comes with being so entrenched in something that as of yet didn’t even have a name.
In a YouGov survey conducted for EDAW, more than one in three adults (34%) in the UK, who gave an answer, could not name any signs or symptoms of eating disorders. Find out more about the signs of an eating disorder.
Research has proven that the sooner someone seeks help for an eating disorder the more likely it is they will make a full, and faster recovery than those who wait. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back I wish I could have made 15 year old me speak up when I first realised something wasn’t right.
The “Why Wait?” campaign is something I strongly believe in. Last year I tackled one of my biggest fears and went in to my old school to talk to students about why it’s so important to seek help sooner rather than later. Public speaking is one of my greatest fears and hurdles but I would do it again a thousand times over if it meant that even one person felt able to speak out.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 27th February Parliament will be debating eating disorders and early intervention and Beat are calling on the Government to extend the current waiting times targets that exist for CAMHS in England, to ensure people of all ages are able to access eating disorder treatment as soon as they need it. I, among many others petitioned their MP to attend and I await the outcome with baited breath.
Lack of services both to children, teenagers and adults still remains the biggest barrier to people getting the help and support they need when they need it most. It should never be a case of needing to reach death’s door before you can access treatment, playing Russian Roulette with your life just to get someone to listen? Not cool.
For anyone who is wondering where to turn to, what to say or where to go then check out the Beat website- you can also find out more about Eating Disorders Awareness week, how to support someone with an eating disorder and how you can fundraise for or support Beat and their important work going forth.