On the last day of my 59th year, I attended a Body Esteem Educator Training Course run by the Butterfly Foundation. The irony of the situation wasn’t wasted on me, a recovered anorexic learning about body esteem.
What was I doing? What was I looking for? Food for thought here.
The conclusion of the first draft, finished that chapter of my life. I’d written my truth down. But the niggling question persisted. Had I reached the point of resolution or not? I believed I had. I spoke to a close friend.
‘Maybe I wanted to know if it was as bad as I’d remembered.’
She said, ‘And…’ Her reply hand-balled the question back to me.’
‘And it was.’
‘But we already knew that,’ she said.
Two members of my family are traversing the jagged terrain of an ED (Eating Disorder). Was I seeking hope? I knew the walk. It was best avoided. The course could go on my PD, as a physio, we see people with disordered eating. It was relevant.
Food is confusing. Messages about food even more so. Our society is in the grips of an obesity crisis and a sharp rise in the incidence of EDs especially in men. Young men are turning to exercise, cans of tuna and anabolic steroids to achieve a certain look.
All these distort our reality. EDs are opportunistic they just need the right set of circumstances to manifest. When they become entrenched, healing takes time. Sometimes a long time. The mental health arena is complex.
The Butterfly Foundation gave each participant a Body Esteem Resource: Free to BE. It is a resource for use in the Australian education environment. Educators can work with young people from year 3-12. The material covers resilience, media, peers and healthy bodies. I encourage anyone working with young people to undertake this training.
The morning shook some old skeletons. I let the cold air work its magic and listened to a young woman singing songs in an outdoor area. Her topics included butterflies and of all things mirrors. But as I reflected, I felt hope for young people. Incorporating body esteem training into the curriculum, will help them to understand that we are all different. Moving away from appearance thinking will help foster self- acceptance.
Feeling good about your body is imperative to good mental health.
If you need help with an eating disorder or are concerned for a friend, contact:
- Eating Disorders Victoria 1300 550 236
- The Butterfly Foundation 1800 33 4673
- National Eating Disorders Collaboration 1800 33 4673
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
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