By Kathy Cortese, LCSW, ACSW, CEDS, USA
It was 1989, when I first encountered the formal world of Eating Disorders. I was a clinical social work intern on a psychiatric hospital’s eating disorder unit in the United States. The realities of the lives of these individuals and their families and loved ones powerfully enhanced my development as a carer, a professional, and as a human and led to a lifetime career in the field. My thoughts include a warm “Thank you” to the community of individuals who I have encountered in my work for letting me be part of your world, your hope, your healing!
As a college student in the early 1970s, I was connected to a number of women who I could later identify as struggling with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Certainly, the symptoms manifested were puzzling. And, we didn’t have names for these illnesses then.
Stigmatization inside and out
Fast forward to my early patient contact – the serious nature of the physical and mental health issues was troubling, if not heart breaking. The hush-hush stigmatization the patients experienced from the outside world was cruel, yet more harsh was, and is, the torture an eating disorder imposes. Despite the complex challenges of their worlds, my patients demonstrated insight, kindness, intelligence, bravery, hope, humor, and all the admirable traits we, as a species, possess.
Continuing my work beyond the therapy room and being part of the Gürze/Salucore Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue team allows me to bring our Mission Statement to life:
We are dedicated to serving the entire eating disorders community: individuals who are suffering, their loved ones, the professionals who treat them, and the educators who are working toward prevention.
Our mission is to provide reliable information and resources on Eating Disorders and Recovery in order to promote understanding, compassion, support, and healing.
It is my privilege to serve this community. The breadth of my emotional world, my coping skills, and my esteem for the triumph of the human spirit have matured due to my interactions with this beautiful group of people.
My wish is to see a world that treat everyone who has an eating disorder with understanding, dignity, and respect. I long for the day when quality eating disorder treatment is available to the sufferers around the globe and funding is not an obstacle to treatment.
Please add your voice of support, hope, and encouragement on World Eating Disorders Action Day 2016!
Kathy Cortese, LCSW, ACSW, CEDS, has worked as a clinician in the eating disorders field since 1989, and now also serves as president and editor-in-chief of the Gürze/Salucore Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue.
Free copies of the catalogue can be requested at www.edcatalogue.com/catalog-request, information on our newest service, the Gürze/Salucore ED Pulse, can be found at www.edcatalogue.com/edpulse, and valuable information and resources on eating disorders can be found on our websites www.edcatalogue.com and www.eatingdisordersrecoverytoday.com.
Twitter https://twitter.com/EDCatalog @EDCatalog
Join Kathy in supporting World Eating Disorders Action Day. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @WorldEDDay and hashtag #WeDoAct, #WorldEDActionDay, @WorldEatingDisordersAction on Instagram and World Eating Disorders Action Day on Facebook.