In an attempt to increase awareness Counseling and Psychological Services has organized eating disorder awareness week titled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Rewriting the Fairy Tale.”
Event coordinator Stacey Pearson, a CAPS clinical psychologist, said the week aims to cultivate knowledge of how to cope with eating disorders from different perspectives.
The information discussed this week hopes to benefit students who are victims of the disease as well as friends of the victims.
“This is an opportunity to get the word out,” Pearson said.
“A person who is dealing with a disorder may be more likely to get help if someone is available get them in the treatment,” she added.
Public Health student Danielle Bauer said in the thought process of eating disorders, one”s worth is determined by others.
“Other people”s appreciation of you means more to you than your own opinion of yourself,” Bauer said.
And once on the track to recovery, it can be difficult for someone suffering from the disease to completely eliminate the destructive behaviors, Bauer said.
“It”s easy to slip back into the behavior if you don”t have a strong social backing,” Bauer said.
One way students have created a social backing is through S.P.E.A.K, the Student group Promoting Education Awareness and Knowledge about eating disorders.
Some members are recovering from eating disorders and have opened themselves and told their stories in order to help others.
“It keeps them focused and stay inspired,” Bauer said. “If you break free from it, the last thing you want to do is to see someone suffer. For people who have gained control over the disorder, it helps remind them of where they”ve been and keeps them from going back to the behaviors.”
The Panhellenic Association is also contributing to the week events by doing passive programming, Pearson said.
This evening students can learn how to approach and help friends with eating disorders at “Help My Friend Has An Eating Disorder,” sponsored by CAPS and the Office of Greek Life.
The event is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Michigan Union”s Kuenzel Room.
The University theatre troupe Mentality will give a dramatic presentation on facilitating discussion among friends.
“We”re concentrating on helping people to learn careful confrontation,” Pearson said.
One sign that a friend may have an eating disorder is obsessive exercising.
LSA sophomore Monika Offerman said her friends intervened once they began to worry about her controlled eating and excessive exercising.
Offerman said her level of guilt about the amount of food she was eating depended on how she worked out.
“I had anorexia and I eventually had exercise addiction at the same time,” Offerman said. “I got up every morning at 6:30 a.m. to work out at the CCRB. Sometimes I would work out more depending on how much I”d ate the night before.”
At the final event of the week at the S.P.E.A.K. Out in East Quad Auditorium, students will have an opportunity to voice their life stories about eating disorders. The first half will be a skit, followed by students sharing poetry, letters and their personal experiences. There will be a brief slideshow, a question and answer session and a panel discussion will follow.
For more information, students can visit the following websites: http://www.umich.edu/caps and http://www.umich.edu/speak.