Monday, May 7, 2012

Day #7: Forgotten Brothers

I can't tell you how many times I have had men or boys contact me for services in regards to eating disorders... and I've had to turn them away from the female-only support group I lead or provide them with the very minimal resources for men. I never end a conversation with one of these men without referring them elsewhere, but I always regret that there are not more places for men to go. What's more - even in some existing services, men may still feel unwelcome.

When people talk to me about eating disorders being a female problem, I try to educate them kindly - eating disorders are affecting more and more males. It's a harsh reality.

I can't imagine what it must be like to struggle with an eating disorder as a male - the horror and pain of the mental illness is terrible enough, but throw in the extra stigma of gender and these guys have got to feel even more alone than their female counterparts.

That's one of the things I try to emphasize when I do talk to men and boys with eating disorders: they are not alone. It may feel that way, but it's not true. And then I refer them to some GREAT guys out there who have struggled too - and who help other males and advocate for them!

...People like Sam Thomas and Nicholas Watts of Men Get Eating Disorders Too (MGEDT), an awesome organization working to end stigma and raise awareness, among other things!

...People like Patrick Bergstrom of I Chose to Live, a recovery movement with great resources for EVERYONE who wants to help those struggling with eating disorders.

These men choose not only to live healthily, but to BE A VOICE for other men. It's admirable and they will help create change.

So here's to our forgotten brothers - may you soon not be "forgotten" at all.

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