My starting point:
When first beginning research on my self-initiated project, I knew I wanted to focus my idea on a social issue that I felt passionate about. Having suffered an eating disorder in my past, I understand how having a mental health problem can begin to completely control and takeover your life. You can have days of feeling fine, then suddenly at the click of a finger, you start to spiral. Out of nowhere you’re so alone and isolated from the world, you feel like nothing could ever help to make you feel ‘normal’ again like everyone else. Although I have received treatment that helped me recover from this illness, I do still struggle sometimes just like anyone else. I am lucky enough to know I have a strong support system from my family and friends to help pick me up in those low moments, which I will forever be grateful for. Unfortunately, lots of people, young and old are suffering these awful unspoken problems in silence. The huge stigma around mental health needs to be broken. We are all human, we all have our low moments when we just need a cuddle, or even someone to ask us ‘are you ok?’. My project aim right from the word go was to create something people could associate with themselves. I thought it would be an interesting topic to focus my initial ideas on eating disorders, due to how self-obsessed we have all let ourselves be dragged into becoming. Social media has become far too important in our lives and for all the wrong reasons. I’m sure a large amount of you could agree you waste an hour of your day (at minimum) scrolling down feeds comparing yourselves to images of people’s ‘perfect’ lives.
When suffering an eating disorder, my obsession with being ‘perfect’ was taking over my life. But this was just a coping mechanism to keep my mind distracted from so many other important and scary things that I didn’t want to think about. I could control what was passing in and out of my body in a way I had never been able to control anything, at the time I thought it made me feel good, of course now I can see where I went wrong. I taught myself and made myself believe I was worthless, my body was definitely not something I should flaunt but something I was ashamed of. I had no respect for it, so I punished it. I’d starve my body, then shock it with ridiculous binges from a chocolate bar to a loaf of bread, a whole tub of ice-cream and whatever else I could get my hands on, all in the space of about 5 minutes… disgusting I know. And as if I wasn’t putting it through enough I would then painfully purge it all away to give myself room for more. The vicious cycle went on for years. This is definitely a part of me that I am not proud of, but I do take pride in the fact that I can now understand I was ill, I can admit I wasn’t ok and I needed help.