Eating disorder documentary on four-year search for peace will inspire
After 20 years with an eating disorder, Kylie van der Veer was desperate to find peace. On World Eating Disorder Action Day, June 2, a documentary of her recovery journey, titled A Peace of Nourishment, will premiere on Australian television.
“… we desperately need to bring this illness into the mainstream so that people feel safe opening up about their own struggles.” – Kylie van der Veer
Four years ago I began filming a documentary that followed my journey of recovery from suffering a serious long term eating disorder for more than 20 years. In my darkest days of being unwell I would often search online for positive stories of people who had successfully recovered, and I didn’t find a lot of hope.
Having no idea of the enormity of what lay ahead I started speaking for the first time about the reality of how living with an eating disorder affects not only the person suffering, but also the families and carers who support them.
My partner Annie, who is the director of the documentary, and I began travelling the world in 2016 interviewing the most influential experts in this field, and for four years I was fortunate enough to experience the very best of both eastern and western therapy.
I began to understand how anxiety was at the heart of my illness and together with kindness and self-compassion I started to develop a confidence in getting well. Having been sick for so many years I never thought it would be possible to live a life free of the tormenting thoughts and behaviors that surround living with an eating disorder.
I am now living that life and am determined to not only help people understand how serious this illness can be – but spread much needed hope to people suffering that recovery is VERY possible.
When we were filming our documentary almost every person who supported us, be it cameramen, lighting operators, sound people, editors, you name it – every single person either had direct experience or knew of somebody with an eating disorder.
What staggers me is that these are only the people who are openly talking about their illness. What about the enormous percentage of people suffering who are too afraid to talk about it?
As an eating disorder community we desperately need to bring this topic into the mainstream so that people feel safe opening up about their own struggles.
Too many people are suffering in silence. I remember going to the annual conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) for the first time in 2016 and meeting many people with lived experience who had recovered. That experience lit a real fire within me – I had felt hopeless and unsupported for nearly 20 years and suddenly I felt like I had a whole new family cheering me on to get well.
Hope is the real key to recovery
It made me realise that having hope is the real key to recovery. We can’t afford to let people feel like the eating disorder will always win – because it won’t if you believe in yourself and you believe that there is a support system available that will nurture your way out of the illness.
Our documentary contains interviews from key experts all over the world, and our website will feature those interviews and therapy sessions in full so that people suffering can find inspiration to get well from the privacy of their own home.
Our intention is to keep filming the latest research, relaxation techniques, recovery tools and as many experts and people with lived experience as we can to upload to the website so that people know that there truly are others out there who are living a life of peace and freedom without their illness.
We need to create a community of hope and positivity and as organisations we all need to be in it for the same reason – to help people get better.
Why can’t we afford to wait? Because even one life lost is too many, and each life saved is affirmation that you truly can get better.
About Kylie van der Veer
In 2015 Kylie, who lives in Australia, began a quest to recover from her eating disorder. She was facing the prospect of long-term health issues caused by more than 20 years of anorexia and binge eating. Previous treatment had been unsuccessful. Kylie asked her partner Annie Flynn to document her journey so that other sufferers and carers could benefit from her experience. Kylie expected her recovery – and the concurrent documentary filming – to take one year. But recovery cannot be scheduled. It has taken nearly four years of therapy, treatments, psychology, expert advice and self-compassion for Kylie to get well. Kylie feels privileged to share her journey in the documentary film, A Peace of Nourishment, and through an online channel where her therapy sessions and interviews are being made available to help other sufferers, carers and families. Kylie, who now feels a peace and joy she never thought was possible, has featured in Australian television on Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise, and ABC’s You Can’t Ask That (Eating Disorders Episode) and ABC Compass (A Peace of Nourishment, to be shown in two episodes, 6.30pm on World Eating Disorders Action Day, June 2, and on June 9). For more information go to www.apeaceofnourishment.com
About World Eating Disorders Action Day 2019
This year grassroots activists, volunteers, and over 250 organizations in 40+ countries are calling for caregivers to receive support, health care workers to be properly trained, and access to immediate, evidence-based treatment.
Why We Can’t Afford to Wait
- Worldwide over 70 million people are estimated to be affected by an eating disorder,
- Eating disorders have the HIGHEST MORTALITY RATE of any psychiatric illness
- Eating disorders affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, socioeconomic class, abilities, races, and ethnic backgrounds. It is time to take action.
- Good news! When treated EARLY and correctly, eating disorders have the highest and fastest recovery rate!
How to support World Eating Disorders Action Day, June 2, 2019
- Join the movement, show your purple on social media! Use hashtag #ShowUsYourPurple
- Follow conversation on social media. Use hashtags #ShowUsYourPurple #WeDoActNow
- Host or attend an event. See http://www.worldeatingdisordersday.org/2019-events-2/
- Donate. To support the work see http://www.worldeatingdisordersday.org/get-involved/participating-organisations/.
- Discuss eating disorders. Through open, supportive dialogue, we can create change.
E-book release: Come as you are, eating disorders can’t wait
As a Participating Organisation supporting 2019 World Eating Disorder Action Day, The Diary Healer has released a new ebook, Come as you are, eating disorders can’t wait. Stories from around the world illustrate that recovery from an eating disorder IS possible, at every age. The first step, is to seek help. Click here to purchase a copy for $9.97 (AUD) – all profits support eating disorder services.
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