Words and artwork contributed by Anny, Lived Experience Practitioner with the Healthy London Partnership Adult Eating Disorder Programme
A year since going public with my blog, I regularly find myself offering a disclaimer: what I say doesn’t represent the experience or feelings of every Black woman with an eating disorder in the UK.
I fully own my experience and stepped into the role of Blogger and Lived Experience Practitioner to offer a different perspective and narrative to the eating disorder story that’s been told.
I wanted to help reduce the gap and improve access and services for people like me. And by people like me, I mean those of us who don’t fit the current stereotype of who eating disorders affect and how they manifest. I want to stretch and expand the face of eating disorders.
It’s important to understand and acknowledge how the representation of eating disorders has been so negative to so many different groups of people and left us out in the cold to suffer and figure it out for ourselves. But things are changing.
Embracing diversity is an essential step in building a foundation that validates all experiences of eating disorders. I want my specific story to be heard because I offer insights and perspectives that only I can give. However, I’m not here to stand alone – like a voice in the wind – but alongside others who deserve to be heard too.
Eating disorders affect everyone and do so in very different ways. The solution to access and service issues is complex and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. However, the first step is not just to open the door, but to knock down the entire wall, understanding that there’s more; more to think about, more to hear, more time required and more understanding to be had.
All people deserve the opportunity of recovery and I’m not just standing for me, but for all.
Anny is a Lived Experience Practitioner with HLP’s Transforming Mental Health programme. She’s an author and blogs about her recovery from Binge Eating Disorder at thefatuglyblog.com.
To mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2022, HLP’s Mental Health Transformation and Children and Young People’s Mental Health teams have planned a week of activities to raise awareness around the symptoms and conditions of eating disorders. Visit our ED2022 webpage to see the full schedule.