So this happened today:
This is a portrait Nat drew on his iPad, a recent early birthday gift from his brother. In case you couldn’t tell from the incredible likeness, the portrait is of me. Flattering, right? He admits that he added the fangs (which are the huge protrusions in the mouth area, I assume). What a guy.
Fortunately for my self-esteem, I also attended a two-hour training webinar for the NEDA Navigator program. The NEDA Navigators are a network of trained volunteers who are available to help the families and friends of those suffering with eating disorders, as well as individuals who are suffering, find resources for treatment and help in their area. Every Navigator has been affected by an ED in one way or another: in order to volunteer with the program, you have to either have had a relative, friend, or loved one who has had an ED, or be in active recovery from an ED yourself. For this reason, the Navigators have a thorough understanding of the amount of support that is needed when helping someone with an ED, and have gone through the experience of finding effective resources for treatment.
I decided to get involved with the Navigator program after I found out that I hadn’t been chosen to be part of the Run for the Rabbit Campaign. Going through the experience of articulating why I wanted to raise money for NEDA as part of that campaign really gave me a sense of how much I wanted to give back and help those who have not had the support and luck that I’ve had when it comes to recovery. Even though I have days (and even weeks sometimes) when I struggle, I can still recognize that I was really fortunate to get treatment when I did, and that I have had an amazing support system and access to a great team of treatment professionals. Not everyone is as fortunate, and when you’re not sure how to get help, an ED can get scarier than it already is. Now I not only feel like I was lucky to get the help I needed, I also feel lucky to be part of the Navigator program and have the opportunity to help others and give them a message of hope, letting them know that recovery is possible.
Because the work that I’ll be doing with the program is confidential, I’m obviously not going to be sharing information about my experience. But I will be adding information about the program to my Resources page, and once my Navigator email address has been set up, I will be making that information available as well so that you can reach out if you are looking for resources in the New York area, or if you would like to be put in touch with someone in your area who can help you or someone you care about. If you or someone you know is suffering, remember that this is not something that you have to go through alone. There are people who can help you, and if you don’t feel comfortable contacting me, you can find more information on other Navigators who are available to contact through NEDA’s website. NEDA also has a helpline you can call at 1-800-931-2237, as well as a variety of resources designed to lead you to the help you need in the quickest way possible.