COVID may steepen the climb for those affected by eating disorders
Content Warning: This article contains information about thoughts and behaviours related to eating disorders.
The first week of February marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a national public awareness campaign dedicated to shedding light on the reality of eating disorders (EDs) and the people they affect. Before COVID-19, EDs had one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. Now, with routines upended and isolation at its peak, the journey toward wellness is even more arduous for some.
“When you live with an eating disorder, free time is a dangerous thing,” said Wendy Preskow, president and founder the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED). “In the absence of many pre-pandemic outlets and routines, the voices encouraging ED behaviours only become louder.”
Preskow isn’t just speaking from her nine years of experience running NIED. She is also a full-time caregiver to her daughter Amy, who has struggled with eating disorders for over 20 years.
“With so many of Amy’s prior activities and distractions taken away, I can feel the tension of her free time,” said Preskow. “I have to keep her company just to help her get through the day. When you’re in that state, every second counts.”