Yesterday at our Fireside Conversation event we had a thought provoking discussion surrounding this year’s EDAW theme, Eating Disorders are Not a Choice.
We talked about how one’s identity is shaped by forces that are in our control and outside of our control. We talked about the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of understanding mental health issues and how this aligns with the EDAW theme. We talked about how past histories and family dynamics (tracing all the way back through our parents’ interactions with their parents, and so on) in combination with biological and psychological factors, can shape our identities in a way that lead to an unstable sense of self. We talked about how an unstable sense of self and identity can lead to the adoption of harmful behaviours such as eating disorders, substance abuse issues, isolation, and self-harm.
We talked about the importance of accepting, and sometimes even forgiving, those in our lives that have led to these unstable identities. We also talked about the fact that sometimes it’s okay not to forgive others, but at the very least it is important to forgive oneself.
We talked about the importance of shaping one’s identity around helpful, creative, and productive activities and roles in recovery, as identity during mental illness can be shaped and defined by illness-related behaviours.
We shared personal stories and professional anecdotes, we shared information and we learned from one another, and overall we elevated our collective understanding of eating disorders and mental health issues in general.
See below for photos from the event!