This coming week is the third annual Baltimore NEDA Walk. I have been to every single one. The Baltimore walk is the smallest of the walks I have been to but that doesn't mean that it hasn't had an impact. I have been inspired. I have met survivors. I have heard speeches that were empowering beyond words. I have met grieving families. I have met professionals. I have caught up with old friends. I have met people who went to the same treatment centers as me. I have seen old therapists. I have informed other people. I have made connections. I have shed tears. I have gained hope. I have held hands. NEDA Walks are incredible experiences. I have also been triggered. I have been old to call treatment centers. I have felt stared at. I have felt judged. I have left in tears. I have been begged to get help. I have decided on relapses. For you see, NEDA Walks have a certain heaviness to them. This can go two ways. Positive or negative. Eating disorders are competitive and deceptive diseases. They just are. Putting a ton of eating disordered people together without "supervision" can be a dangerous endeavor. But every person who is brave enough to run or attend a NEDA takes on that risk and I think it is more than worth it. Why? Because of all the reasons I said in the first part of this blog. You don't realize how much these diseases can take from people until you hear those speeches or speak to the parents who no longer have a child. Friends and family members who now have one person whom they loved. So, yes, I have been triggered at NEDA Walks. But that mostly has been caused my own feelings of inadequacy. The theme this year for all the NEDA Walk is "Why I NEDA Walk". I would like to share mine with all of you.
I NEDA Walk because we all need hope. Because I need to not feel alone. Because not everyone can walk for themselves. Because approximately 23 people die every day from eating disorders. Because I refuse to be a statistic. Because I have friends who deserve more than the life they are living. Because hope is the only thing stronger than fear. Because recovery is possible.
Why do you NEDA Walk?