In sharing stories we can help others and our self

With Jenni Schaefer, sharing our stories about PTSD and ED, at the AED ICED in San Francisco, May 2016.

Learning I was not the only one in the world with my difficult, painful, bossy thoughts, was a revelation in realising I had a mental illness and could heal from it. This revelation came about through reading the stories of others. Sharing our stories provides a vital function in letting others know they are not alone in facing a mental health challenge. Since I began sharing my story publicly, almost 10 years, my life has become enriched in many, many ways. This month, Sharing my story with Jenni Schaefer, who I have admired deeply from afar for many years, has taken my own healing to a new level.

Sharing our stories can  provide information and insights and encouragement, that can make a lot of difference for people who are struggling silently and who, for whatever reason, have yet to access health services. Long before Jenni knew I existed, she was helping me…10,000 miles apart, back in 2004,  her book, Goodbye Ed, helped me over the line in reconnecting with my true self. So, to stand beside her and share my story in San Francisco this month, was very special indeed. That, and sharing a little of my story in her latest Huffington Post article. Thank you, Jenni! You are inspiring people around the world.

Sharing our stories can also help our doctors and our researchers understand more, and learn about our illness. In this way, they are better able to help us and others.

screen-shot-2016-03-05-at-12-21-50-pmOn the eve of World Eating Disorders Action Day (June 2)I wish to acknowledge and extend heartfelt appreciation to all therapists/health professionals who do not give up on patients and believe in them even when they are unable to do so themselves…having been in this situation, I am eternally grateful to my treatment team for their patience and encouragement (over decades) and for their ability to look beyond the manifesting symptoms. I owe my life to these health professionals. Them, and the love of family and friends.

About June Alexander

I have written nine books about eating disorders since my recovery (my “reconnection with true self”) from anorexia nervosa and other long term mental health challenges in 2006. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing). My contribution to the eating disorder field was recognised at the 2016 Academy for Eating Disorders International Conference in San Francisco where I was awarded the Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy. I am currently a co-chair of the NEDC Steering Committee Evidence of Experience Group, a foundation steering committee member of the annual World Eating Disorders Action Day, and an Advisory Panel member for F.E.A.S.T.

All articles by June Alexander

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