Thanks to a very generous birthday present, I was able to attend the National Eating Disorders Association conference this year. It was absolutely amazing!
I learned so many things and met so many incredible people. This was the first time I was in an environment where everyone kind of understood what I’m going through. There were clinicians, dietitians, researchers, advocates and people that have been personally affected by eating disorders in attendance. In a sea full of strangers, I felt free to be completely authentic.
I was only able to go to the conference on Friday, but it was still full of great information and experiences. [Fun fact: I met someone who reads this blog! :D] The sessions I attended were about advocacy, youth outreach and dietetics. The dietetics session was my favorite. I learned a lot about how our metabolism works and what intuitive eating looks like. I’ll be sure to share what I learned in future posts.
At the end of the day, I went on a dinner cruise with some of my new friends. We sailed along the Chicago River under the gorgeous city lights. The sky never gets completely dark in the heart of the loop, and I think that’s beautiful. Stars are nice but so is architecture. It’s okay to see beauty in unnatural places.
After the cruise, I hung out with my new friends until the early morning and for the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like I really connected with someone regarding my struggles. Don’t get me wrong–I have a great support system with my home friends, I really do.. but these people were able to give me support from a different perspective. It was liberating to finally have someone standing next to me, looking out from the inside. I need both.
I feel like my recovery has leveled-up since the conference. All it took was one very long day to change my life. I am motivated in a new way, not only to recover for myself, but to reach out to others, too. I am excited to continue working with NEDA in the future, and I am oh so grateful for the friends I made that day. May we all continue to thrive on our journeys!
P.S.: You might guess, but the food was absolutely delicious.