Monday, July 27, 2009

'Mirrors' Artwork Submissions Invited

Mirrors Art Exhibition is an annual event founded by fashion entrepreneur Rhiannon Bulley. It aims to raise awareness of eating disorders through the display of abstract and contemporary pieces, and is currently seeking submissions.

"The aim is to
show that the reflection of a mirror is not always one of clarity," says Ms Bulley.

The idea is that a mirror can be blurred or altered by outside motives and the objective is to provide clarity that beauty is not an image but a feeling.

The theme 'Mirrors' is an open embodiment of hope; hope that one day people will comprehend the challenge and complexity of overcoming an eating disorder and the feeling of futility that envelopes the sufferer and their loved ones. Above all it is the hope that through expression, individuals can be prevented from developing or continuing to live with negative body image and low self esteem that often fuels these life threatening illnesses.

Profits from the sale of art will go towards supporting the Butterfly Foundation, an organisation that helps families and individuals whose lives are adversely affected by eating disorders

Mirrors Art Exhibition will be open from 14-26 October at Mori Gallery, Darling Harbour. For further information click on the link and then 'Artwork Submissions':

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anorexic Teen's Tragic Death

An article in yesterday's Sun Herald highlighted the need to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of anorexia after the tragic death of 19 year old Jessica Macmillan.

Jessica had been battling anorexia nervosa for seven years and took her own life on 13 June. Her family have organised a walkathon to raise money and awareness for the Butterfly Foundation, an organisation of which I am an avid supporter.

The Butterfly Foundation actively helps and supports families and individuals suffering from eating disorders and tirelessly works to promote the dangers of dieting.

Jessica's death is proof that there is so much more that needs to be done to give hope to those struggling with eating issues and help them feel less alone.

Several of the young people I interviewed for my book Why Can't I Look the Way I Want; Overcoming Eating Issues struggled with suicidal thoughts and spoke of the hopelessness and desperation they felt. One said "I thought that by ending my life, I'd finally find peace and I'd never have to feel like this again". Another girl wrote to me in an email "I'm so tired of the struggle and feel as though I've lost hope. Please help me because I want so much to get better". I dedicated a chapter to answering this question because it means everything to have hope. As Christopher Reeve famously said "once you choose hope, anything is possible".

The only way forward is to raise awareness of these devastating illnesses and give people hope by showing how recovery is possible.

'Walk for Jess' will be at Parramatta Park on Saturday from 10.30am.

To read the article go here:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pregnancy and Relapse Linked

An article in yesterday's Sun Herald highlighted the fact that there is little research available for former anorexics embarking on pregnancy, but it is known that they are at a much greater risk of relapsing.

My weight hadn't fluctuated in years, I was happy, eating healthily, working out three times a week. Then, after being recovered for many years, I fell pregnant and this brought to the surface a myriad of insecurities and fears; I knew that my body was going to change, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I spent time reflecting on where my fears were coming from and there was a lot of introspection before I could let it all go. Once my son was born, I then had to cope with a different kind of pressure because I was confronted with celebrities in magazines displaying their slim post-pregnancy bodies. I had to work hard not to succumb to the pressure to lose the weight as quickly as possible.

"Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time in a woman's life but if [midwives] are aware of previous eating disorders they can put a lot of supports in place," said Hannah Dahlen, of the Australian College of Midwives.

Although my GP was aware of my history related to anorexia, it was brushed aside by my obstetrician because I had obviously made a complete recovery. I wasn't prepared for the triggers once my body started to change, nor the extent of anxiety I experienced related to my body image, especially during my second trimester.

I believe there needs to be a greater level of support for women who have battled eating disorders and are pregnant, to help them cope with weight gain, and ensure they maintain a healthy diet and exercise program once the baby is born to prevent slipping back into the destructive pattern of an eating disorder.

To read the article, go here: