ANGI Study – what’s been happening lately!

HopeHello!

How are you all doing? I have been busy. And this is not the post I was expecting to be writing. We have had construction and went away, to escape said construction. Life has been a bit insane. I have some lovely pictures of our trip and I will share those soon. That was the post I was thinking I would be writing.

However, while I was away things happened and then when I came back they blew up a little, in a positive way! And I need to share that story with you first, while it is on the forefront of my mind.

Let me start from the beginning.

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Over 18 months ago now I was up one night feeding Summer back to sleep, she was a little fresh new baby. I read an article about the ANGI study, they were asking people who had suffered from Anorexia Nervosa to come forward and fill out a survey. Depending on the survey results they were then asking people to give a blood sample to be included in a genetic study. The first of its kind on such a wide scale.

I have probably mentioned on here, although I know I have not extensively discussed it on here, that I had a pretty severe eating disorder in my late teens/ early twenties. I feel as though I am fully recovered now. I generally don’t enjoy discussing it, I find it quite embarrassing, uncomfortable and even a little humiliating. I know that people I know saw me looking really sick and that they know. I pretend they didn’t. I compartmentalise. It is a time in my life that I have moved on from and I never wanted to go back to. So I have avoided most discussions about it. In my head it almost didn’t happen.

However, when I read this article asking for people to get involved it struck me that in life you don’t always have choices and you can’t always leave everything behind you. And sometimes that is for the best. I have three girls. What if there is a genetic link (and I think it is highly likely that there is a genetic link)? What if my girls or one of their friends were to go through this? And then the even more confronting to me the thought that there ARE girls going through this right now! Just because I don’t personally know them doesn’t mean someone’s kid is not facing this! And not everyone comes out on the other side! Many don’t. Wow! Suddenly I realised I had a huge responsibility to get involved. So I took the survey on the spot.

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Within a few days of filling in the survey they contacted me to give blood. I was a little surprised as I sort of convinced myself that I wouldn’t be selected. A big part of having an eating disorder is denial and even this long after I still sort of wanted to be in denial. Giving blood was simple, I took it to the pathologist and I was in and out in 15 minutes. I sent the sample back and received a thank you email. I didn’t really expect to hear much more, I had done my part.

And then early this year I received an email from them asking me if I would be interested in discussing my story with the media to drum up some more attention and hopefully gain further volunteers. This aspect made me a little anxious but I had already decided 18 months earlier I had to be all in so I said yes. A lovely girl from a Media Communications Firm called me and got my story. She asked me for some photographs and confirmed I was happy with what she had written.

Last week she called me again and said they would be doing a big media release on the 27th of April and would I be available to take phone calls that day! I said sure, however, I was certain that many other girls would also be telling their story. I didn’t expect much beyond maybe a phone interview. Then on the 26th they did a pre-release and by the morning of the 27th there were three camera crews lined up to come to my house and 2 phone interview scheduled! Insane!

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So I have spent part of last talking to journalists and being filmed and recorded! Wow! What a process to be a part of and to watch. I have most certainly had my five minutes of fame! More importantly though I have been able to talk about something I never wanted to or thought that I could and discuss it publicly.  In doing so, hopefully I made a difference to such a sensitive cause. Just by sharing it on my Facebook page (something I hesitated doing further as then I would know my friends saw it) 4 Facebook friends privately messaged me wanting to get involved. And I hope it has reached farther!

If you are interested in reading my story here are some links. Obviously these are tiny snippets of “my story” even of “my eating disorder story”, but they give you an idea.

Why are only one in three sufferers of anorexia getting medical help?

Channel Ten News

SBS News

If anyone is looking to get involved in helping out with the ANGI study, please follow this link and fill out the survey. Simple. If anyone is suffering with an eating disorder do not hesitate to talk to someone and get help. Eating disorders are hauntingly common. When I was suffering I felt very alone and I felt trapped. I most certainly didn’t want anyone to know about it, I just wanted out, but didn’t know how to get there. Eating disorders can manifest in different ways (I know it did for me). So at times when I looked outwardly healthy I was inwardly struggling the most. If you want further information or you want to get in touch with me don’t hesitate to email me thefitspirit@gmail.com

Have you ever been on TV? Did the process surprise you?

Jess xoxoxx

 

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