Allie Lambeth shares her experience of recovering from an eating disorder, and what that means from day to day. She offers words of encouragement and advice to those who share her experience, and calls on us all to kinder and more forgiving to one another.
Why is campaigning for/ talking about eating disorders and mental health so important to you?
Being a voice for eating disorders and recovery is important to me because I want people to know they aren't a lone. Having an eating disorder isolates you from the world, and makes you disconnect with people; so I'm trying to build relationships with all of these wonderful warriors so they don't feel a lone. I never saw anti-eating disorder Instagrams or websites when I was struggling and I think if I had, I wouldn't have felt so weird and alone. I want to help as many people as I can.
How widespread do you think these problems are?
The issues of body image and mental illness are so widely spread. Everywhere you look online, you see a tall skinny person with ripped abs and a v-line. That's not normal, those people in the magazines don't even look as they do in the pictures, it's a world wide thing. To be attractive be skinny, or have big boobs and a big butt but a perfect toned stomach.
What is it most important for you that people know about your own experience?
I want people to know that even though I am young that I really want to change the world and make a positive impact. I will not stop trying to change the world's thinking. The more I help people and the more I share my story the stronger I become in my recovery. So my Instagram and my writing and all the amazing people I talk to are keeping me going and helping me to remember to love myself.
Do you have any advice, or support, you would like to share with people going through what you have?
My advice for people is to not let anyone get in the way of your happiness and to stay true to yourself because that's the only way to live a happy life. When you are feeling down; look in the mirror and say all the things that are good about yourself, and if you can't think of anything call your closest friend or family member and ask them to tell you why they love and care about you. Good friends and a good relationship with your family members is crucial in recovery. When you have love around you, you begin to embrace everything around you and yourself.
Is there anything else you'd like people to know about these issues?
The thing I want people to know about my experience is that it could happen to anyone at any time. Having anorexia or any other mental illness doesn't make you a freak or a "crazy" person. The stigma of mental illnesses are that everyone that has one should be locked away with a straight jacket. Most mental illnesses can be helped with medicine and therapy; you don't have to be put in a straight jacket because you have a bipolar disorder. Everyone needs help sometimes and that's just the way it is, if we were all a little kinder and open to each other, mental illness wouldn't be looked at as a plot line to a horror movie.
I just want to be able to share my sorry world wide because I truly believe that I can change the world with my passion and love. I don't want or need the so called "attention" and that's not why I do what I do. I do what I do because I want to be able to help as many people as I can, when I went through my worst stages of my eating disorder I hurt a lot of people. My feelings went numb and I wasn't really a live. I saw so many people hurt as they saw me get sicker and sicker and how my strikes of rage from hunger pains scared them and didn't leave their minds for days. Helping people made me feel better and made me want to keep pushing for recovery. The people I meet and talk to think I am only helping them but in reality they all are helping me so much more.