The 2016 National Eating Disorder Association Walk

A reminder of the importance of community in recovery

Every year the National Eating Disorder Association – or NEDA – facilities walks all over the world as an act of solidarity for those who struggle with eating disorders and their families. Opal Food + Body Wisdom was proud to be an event sponsor this year at the Seattle Center. It was an incredible opportunity to see this community come together. We were all brought together by this disorder, but the hope and the love in the air was tangible.

Despite the rain, we had a total of 321 registered walkers and raised over $21,500 for the National Eating Disorder Association. These funds will support NEDA’s programs and services which will provide support to millions of individuals and families every year.

Check Out the Seattle Walk Featured on King 5 News!

Attendees included recovered individuals, professionals and treatment center representatives, and those still in the depths of struggle with their illness. Amongst us was also those that were there solely to support us. Friends, family, and several adorable dogs. Many had never suffered in this way and possibly didn’t even understand disordered eating, but they had seen the pain of others and stood with us.

While the professionals, the treatment centers, and the alumni are so important to our cause, it is all the others that gather around us that really give us strength. The community we are building and that I was able to witness is so powerful. This group had such a variance of eating disorder education and experience yet there was an energy of oneness, of connectedness, and a strong desire for change. This energy reminds me of how incredibly important it is to have a community during recovery.

The community is everything.

YOUR community is everything.

We know that much of how we respond to situations is based on the fact that humans are naturally hardwired for survival. And we are learning that a sense of community is as necessary for survival as food and water. Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy teaches us that one of the main pillars of psychological health is Intimacy and Connectedness¹. Here at Opal, we integrate developing healthy intimacy and connectedness in our client education because we have found that it is so integral to recovery and to navigating everyday life.

As eating disorder treatment professionals, we know how incredibly lonely the road to recovery can be. We know how hard it can be to ask for help, and how scary it can be to admit that you need it. You do not need to do this alone.

I left the NEDA walk feeling surrounded by a community of people (and dogs) that are passionate about recovery. It gives me so much hope for those out there that have not taken the next steps. We are ready for you when you are.

Thank you so much NEDA and it’s volunteers for providing such a wonderful opportunity to experience this community. Check out a few photos of the event below. If you couldn’t make it check in with us next year and join us!

Donate to NEDA Find Your Local Walk
  1. © Thomas R. Lynch, 2016
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