Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to return to Dr. Brosseau School and this time around, it was to talk about self-love and the way we view our bodies. As I had stated in one of my earlier blog posts, each delegate is to have a beauty with a purpose campaign. I have dedicated mine to mental health, specifically eating disorders.
I wanted the kids to be aware that a mental illness is not one exclusive diagnosis. Mental Health is a large spectrum that can include many different disorders. I also wanted to remind them that it could affect anyone at any time in their lives. Mental illnesses do not target a specific gender, race or age. Speaking out about it can be very scary to most people, which is why it is so important for it to be discussed.
A person’s eating and exercise habits, and body weight and shape becoming an unhealthy or obsessive preoccupation in their life characterizes as an eating disorder. There are four main categories recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The first three are the most well known: Anorexia Nervosa where a person extremely restricts their food intake, Bulimia Nervosa where the person will eat and then regurgitate the food, and Binge-Eating Disorder where a person will eat a very large quantity of food in a short time period. The fourth category is an umbrella for other less common eating disorders (NEDA, 2016).
Young women are most likely to develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives, and studies show that young men are at an ever-increasing risk as well. Many are pointing the finger at social media as the culprit for this increase in mental illness sufferers. The overexposure to edited photos and videos of beautiful men and women is dangerous for people who find themselves to be imperfect.
During my presentation, I really wanted to make these kids realize the power that their words can have. In my experience, it was the comments that I would receive about my weight that would affect me the most. I was trying to reach an unrealistic goal for the soul purpose of making everyone around me happy. The message I wanted to portray was to be kind and conscientious of your comments.
**Even though I highlighted the connection between eating disorders and the influence words can have, I would also like to stress that it is not the only reason why people develop eating disorders.
My overall goal with these presentations is to bring awareness to eating disorders and to urge sufferers, and those who know of someone suffering to speak out.
Riwa, Miss East-Central Alberta
Types and symptoms of eating disorders. (2016). NEDA, Feeding Hope. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/types-symptoms-eating-disorders