This week in Australia it is Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week. One Million Australians are currently living with these deadly psychiatric illnesses. Something that most people do not know is that Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
After battling with negative body image and eating disorders for most of my life I know the trauma and the trail of destruction that my behaviour and actions has had not only on myself but also my family. My family have been nothing but supportive throughout my battle, but only recently was I made aware just how damaging my Eating Disorder was on them.
My brother wrote about his experience of having a sister with an eating disorder and it literally broke my heart into a million pieces. I wanted to share with you all his own words, because this is a family disease!
An eating disorder is no one's fault ... but we all have a responsibility in the recovery process.
My brother; Jake Smith
"It's rare to hear a blokes perspective on the matter but in light of this week I decided to share a few honest words on social media and the reaction has been excellent.
This one if for all the brothers, sisters, parents, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends. We may not be the ones suffering from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating but that certainly doesn't mean we're not infected by these deadly diseases.
It might be our loved ones who are diagnosed but it is us who cop the brunt and endure the suffering just as much as they do. We live with it everyday; It's in our face, it's on our minds and it's under our skin.
Our desperate words of encouragement to put an end to the meaningless damage always seem to fall on deaf ears. However, I assure you that as difficult as it might be and as under appreciated as you may feel your unconditional love and relentless support doesn't go unnoticed.
I've seen sides of my sister, Jessica, that would shock the devil to his core. For years I was her emotional and physical punching bag. She abused me just as much as she abused herself. She lied to me on countless occasions and did so without a conscience. Jessica's eating disorder was ridiculously consuming that it ruined friendships and relationships all around her. She was spiralling out of control and at times I felt like I was being dragged into the vortex. She pushed me to breaking point nearly everyday but I always knew in the back of my mind that she would eventually come good. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel; I just needed her to see it as well. And looking at where she is today and how far she's come is a true testament to my belief.
As difficult as it was growing up with a sister suffering from an Eating Disorder amongst many other issues, I stuck by her and I never left her corner. I'm extremely proud to see the positive impact she's having on the world today. Her talks, workshops, videos, photos and her #JoinTheRevolution campaign has touched the lives of many across the globe. I can only hope that her story continues to inspire others so they can begin their own road to recovery.
With that being said, I'd like to encourage anyone who is living with an ED or knows somebody suffering from negative body image to JOIN THE REVOLUTION. You don't have to name names or fill in a survey or donate money, simply participate by posting a picture of yourself with this Join The Revolution sign.
1 MILLION Australians are victim to an eating disorder so I expect to see a few photos! It's not hard.. you can print the sign, create your own, use your smartphone, set the image as a screensaver or whatever you can come up with. It's all about AWARENESS. Issues surrounding body image is serious business."
- Jake Smith