Oh Sh*t – there it is!!
That was exactly my thoughts the 1st time ‘my story’ was ever shared.
In 2012, my story was published in the Evening Express.
Middle page – double spread.
There was me, front and centre.
As well as a picture of my sister and I and another picture of when I received my 1st ever business award in London.
‘Yup, you did it Lee – there’s going back!!’
When you share something incredibly personal that you’ve purposefully kept secret not only from the world but also loved ones.
It’s a very uneasy and awkward feeling.
I remember wanting to crawl under a rock, worrying about what people would think and how they would judge me.
People that I knew who would read the paper.
They would now all know my eating disorder ‘secret’.
Then I reminded myself the reason WHY I was sharing it.
And after the flood of positive responses from both those who did and didn’t suffer from eating disorders.
I knew I’d made the right decision.
Over the years, it still feels ‘a little weird’ sharing it but the secrecy and stigma which gave my eating disorder power no longer exists!
Today marks the beginning of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023.
Each year, there’s a different topic covered and this year it’s about eating disorders in men.
1 in 4 of those with an eating disorder is male yet more often than not, their symptoms can go unnoticed.
Recently BEAT carried out one of the UK’s biggest surveys to date on men’s experiences with eating disorders.
Of those that took part:
1 in 5 had never spoken out about their struggles.
6 in 10 were disappointed with the help available to men.
And 4 in 5 felt raising awareness would help more men get treatment sooner.
So one of my main goals of today, is to simply make you aware that men get eating disorders too.
Whether it’s your Dad, son, uncle, brother, nephew or male friend/colleague you may be concerned about…
Perhaps share the contact links below and make them aware of this years campaign so at least they’re informed and can make the choice to start that road to recovery.
Some other stats:
1 in 50 people living in the UK have an eating disorder, a serious mental health issue.
Yet so many sufferers fail to get the support they need, despite their best efforts which is why, when it comes to eating disorders, I also always suggest contacting BEAT.
BEAT is the UK’s leading eating disorder charity which does incredible work all year round not only supporting sufferers but also friends and relatives of those with eating disorders.
Recovery from an eating disorder can be a LONG and extremely challenging process.
However, after finally winning my 15 year battle with bulimia and turning my life around, I hope it can help anyone who is suffering and reading this to realise that recovery is possible.
I hit rock bottom when my eating disorder was at it’s worst and didn’t think I’d live to see my 18th Birthday…..in 11 days, I turn 41!!
Coming from such a low, dark, depressing and helpless place has now become a major drive for my challenge of a lifetime and journey to the top of the world (summiting Mount Everest 2024).
Even though it may be the hardest part, the 1st stage of recovery is talking about things and reaching out for help.
Whether you speak to a friend/family member or get in touch with BEAT, brave that 1st step and I promise, your ‘future self’ will forever be thankful that you did.
You don’t have to go through it alone.
Lee ‘raising awareness’ Donald x
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