By Tabitha Farrar, UK and USA
A little bit about me: Despite being an incredibly body-confident teenager, I developed Anorexia at age 17. I suffered severely from the disease until at age 26 I was able to piece together my own recovery plan. I have never received therapy or any other form of treatment, but have made a very successful recovery by taking family-based therapy practices and adjusting them to suit an adult sufferer.
Here’s why I am proud to be part of World Eating Disorder Day, and why I know it is important.
Had I presented to my GP at the age of 18 with stage-one cancer symptoms I would have been treated very differently than I was when I presented with Anorexia.
Had I presented with an observable physical complication such as a tumor you can be sure that the doctors would not have asked me if my relationship with my parents was causing me to “do this to myself.”
Had I presented with leukemia I would not have been told to go away and come back when I had decided that I wanted to get better.
Eating disorders kill, yet sufferers are still dealt with as if they are going through nothing more than a rebellious fad by many medical professionals. Eating disorders are not about diets, or troubled teenage years, or getting revenge on one’s parents. Eating disorders are not about “control” or self-punishment for the C grade that should have been an A. Eating disorders are brain-based illnesses that if left untreated can progress to the point where the sufferer’s brain sees any type of food as a threat to survival—the very nature of the disease causes sufferer’s to lose all sense of rational behavior when it comes to food and eating.
Early intervention has proven as the most effective strategy for long term recovery, but inadequate treatment provisions are rife—these practices severely compromise a sufferer’s ability to reach a full and sustained recovery.
Having made a solid recovery after ten plus years of suffering from severe Anorexia, I can say without doubt that my own recovery was only hindered by the medical professionals I saw during that time. The progression that I made was as a result of my own research into the disease and help from online parents forums such as F.E.A.S.T. As an adult sufferer there was nothing in the way of evidence-based treatment offered to me, and this is something that I am now passionate about changing.
I am thrilled to be a part of the first World Eating Disorder Day because I believe that the more noise made by those of us who understand that there is a better way of dealing with eating disorders—and the more that we support one another—the sooner we will be able to get the correct, effective, forms of treatment to the sufferers who need it.
By sharing knowledge born out of success, we can save lives.
Today, Tabitha lives in Boulder Colorado with her “incredibly supportive and loving” husband. She works as Head of Marketing for a software company. Tabitha has written a book on her journey into recovery. The title: Love Fat. http://www.amazon.com/Love-Fat-Tabitha-Farrar-ebook/dp/B00YZ44Z58 Tabitha also writes a blog.
Join Tabitha 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.