My name is Anne.
I'm an English literature major and I've been toiling away at my undergrad for 8 years. How's that for a victory lap(se)? In actuality, I love attending university, I'm not complaining. But it's been a long struggle. At 16, after a brief stint in the modelling industry, I developed a severe eating disorder which nearly killed me at the time, and continues to plague my life, over a decade later.
My eating disorder has been the cause of frequent and prolonged hospitalizations and has problematized virtually every area of my life: school, work, relationships. Everything goes down the drain when you're living with an eating disorder. "Living" isn't even the right word. Life becomes a single prolonged struggle to cope, cope with the voices in your head, with the hunger in your stomach, and with the demands of a world geared to physically and mentally healthy individuals.
My eating disorder has been disabling and ruinous but it's also been a source of inspiration. Initially, I wrote about my mental illness privately, but in recent years I chose to submit my work to various publications in an effort to raise awareness about the reality of what an eating disorder is. I believe that eating disorders are woefully misrepresented in mainstream media, as vain, trivial illnesses that impact teenaged females and eventually just . . . resolve themselves. It's a phase. But this is not the case - eating disorders are life-threatening illnesses and they affect all kinds of people, in myriad ways.
I've made it a priority in my life to raise awareness and combat stigma surrounding EDs by creating Breaking Silence, an anthology of artwork submitted by eating disordered individuals. I'm still accepting submissions but already the publication reflects the diverse lived experiences of ED survivors.
Breaking Silence reflects my belief that if we, as a community, talk more about mental illness, including eating disorders, then we not only open up the possibility of healing for survivors, but also foster enlightenment and compassion within society at large.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to submit your artwork to the Breaking Silence anthology.