A vital element in healing from a mental health challenge is to know we are not alone. This is particularly so when experiencing an eating disorder, an illness which by its very nature encourages secrecy and promotes isolation. In seeking to heal from an eating disorder, it helps to know that others have felt like we are feeling and, to learn that they have healed, helps us believe we can heal, too. One of the best ways I know, for learning and discovering more about our illness and gaining inspiration to strengthen our true self, is through story-sharing.
You might think that a ‘Grief Diaries’ book, by its very title, will be essentially a morbid read. Wrong. Lynda Cheldelin Fell has created an amazing series, through the narrative of diary writing, on some of the many ways grief can touch our lives. Each book, while being open, candid, raw and to the core, is equally heartwarming, uplifting, courageous, comforting and motivating.
I believe, through sharing our stories (about those inner secrets and thoughts that have kept true self a prisoner, often for decades) in a supportive environment provides a safe way to help break down the internal and external barriers of stigma and shame that frequently accompany mental health challenges.
For this reason I am delighted to be a co-author of, and contributor to, Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of An Eating Disorder.
I have written nine books about eating disorders since my recovery (my “reconnection with true self”) from anorexia nervosa and other long term mental health challenges in 2006. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing). My contribution to the eating disorder field was recognised at the 2016 Academy for Eating Disorders International Conference in San Francisco where I was awarded the Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy. I am currently a co-chair of the NEDC Steering Committee Evidence of Experience Group, a foundation steering committee member of the annual World Eating Disorders Action Day, and an Advisory Panel member for F.E.A.S.T.