Learning to Live.
I’m Coco. I’m a vibrant and charismatic 35-year old woman with a passion for living, learning, creating, and connecting...but that all came at a price. The better part of my 20’s was crippled by an eating disorder and exercise addiction. At 23, while most of my peers were getting married, starting families, attending grad school, and building careers I was being admitted into my first inpatient eating disorder treatment facility. This was the beginning of a decade long journey of fighting my way out of the hell I had created for myself. My self-sabotaging behaviors were too much for me to bear and most days I felt like I failed more than I succeeded. But the best decision I have ever made was to speak up and ask for help, to realize I could not do this alone. I had to leave my ego behind and grab onto those around me for support. Two of the most powerful self-discoveries that helped through this time are:
1. It is my responsibility to give back more to this world than I have taken. The unselfish acts of love and support that people gave me are at the heart of everything I do and how I treat others. They owed me nothing yet gave me everything I needed at that time.
2. A life well-lived is one where I can truly be at peace with myself. This means knowing and accepting myself for who & what I am and for who & what I am not. It means learning how to stop waging wars within my head and start finding the goodness in everyday life.
When I sat down to write this I thought to myself, “What is my goal here?” Simply answered: to talk about it.
I HAVE to talk about some part of my eating disorder in order to get me through a day because most of the decisions I make are based off the “best interest” of my recovery. Talking about it to others may make some people uncomfortable but these discussions need to happen in order to breakdown the stigmas and generalizations associated with eating disorders. I’m ok knowing that not everyone will understand but the more it gets talked about the less it gets judged. I want people to recognize that it’s a big part of me but it does NOT define me. Although I may not be fully recovered (nor do I believe I ever will be), the stronghold that the eating disorder once had on my life weakens everyday.
Based off of my personal experince, the following are things I wish more people knew about eating disorders:
1. Eating disorders aren’t simply an “eating” disorder….for many it is a “thought” disorder. The eating disorder behaviors are usually only a symptom of much bigger problem.
2. Eating disorders tend to be a very secretive and isolating experience. They come in various shapes and sizes (for a lack of a better term) with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, orthorexia nervosa, to name a few.
3. Recovering from an eating disorder is highly complex and multifaceted. Rarely is there a one-size-fits-all treatment or prescription.
4. Those who suffer from an eating disorder don’t speak up about it because they feel like they will be judged, misunderstood, and invalidated.
5. Eating disorders have severe physical and life threatening “side-effects” despite it being classified as a “mental illness.”
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read this and to consider donating to my fundraising efforts. Please keep reading to learn more about the NEDA Walk and how your contirbutions will help.
ABOUT THE NEDA WALK:
Did you know that 30 million men and women will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetimes? This is one of the many reasons that I am participating in a NEDA Walk to benefit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)!
NEDA is a nonprofit organization that provides lifesaving programs and services to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA is dedicated to erasing the stigma surrounding eating disorders, promoting positive body image and discouraging dangerous diet behaviors.
I am asking for your support to help me reach my fundraising goal. Donating to my fundraising page is a way for you to not only show your support for me, but also to show your support for the millions of individuals and families affected by eating disorders.
Since 2009, NEDA Walks have been bringing communities together nationwide in the fight against eating disorders. NEDA Walks raise funds for NEDA’s lifesaving programs that help thousands of people every day!
Your contribution will help fund NEDA’s national Helpline, National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, NEDA Navigators and countless other lifesaving programs.
Any amount you can contribute will make a difference in the fight against eating disorders. With your help, I am one step closer to my fundraising goal.
Thank you so much for your support! You can also help by forwarding my page to anyone you think might want to support the cause with us!
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