Exposing life with an eating disorder– a photographic project call-out

Sam Tench / Photo blogs / / 1 Comment

Do you have eating disorder experience and have a passion for drawing, painting, taking pictures, or creating digital images? If so, I want to hear from you.

A new project is convening and forming in my mind. My friends know I can be highly driven and somewhat stubborn!  These traits have been buried deep inside for much of my life. Until recently, these traits accompanied a never-ending trail of distress and agitation because they were entwined with my eating disorder (ED).

Interestingly, I’ve found myself firmly holding onto these same traits, without the ED attached, since completing a helpful residential eating disorder program two years ago. Excitingly, I’ve begun to transform and use these traits in new, positive and exciting ways.

I am somewhat impulsive—I tend to jump headfirst at the first sign of a new idea. It won’t leave me alone inside my complicated mind, insistent on convincing me of its pure brilliance, and I need to get onto it, pronto!  Such characteristics are prevalent and dominating in the life of someone with an ED. You’re in the thick of your own small world, consumed and imprisoned by ED who won’t stop yelling at you, abusing you. ED can be a relentless pain and wants to bring you down.

In a bizarre and sometimes discouraging twist, ED’s particular traits have two personalities; they develop either the will to torture or change a life for the better. Yup, some of those horrible behaviours can be flipped and used for our benefit. This is where I need your expert help on my next project.

How can you help?

“Two heads are better than one”. The more authentic and real-life experiences are to draw from, the richer the content will be.

My aim is to compose a creative representation, focusing on the voice of an ED in form of a book. The aim is to highlight the hidden voice that dominates the mind of someone with an ED. A resource that will turn common ED thoughts into visual pieces of art. Pictures that will enable everyone to experience the ploys and manipulation that is just another day in the life and mind of a person when ED is controlling their every move. My idea is for a highly visual representation, to promote greater awareness and understanding of this severe illness. Hopefully, this greater insight will assist in the development of improved treatment options.

To create this photographic representation, I need voices and experiences from real life, ED-qualified people — not a degree qualification but people who have lived and breathed their own experiences with an ED. People with an abundance of real-life experience and a highly creative mind or the flare and vision to reproduce thoughts in some form and transform them onto paper.

Do you have any of the following skillsets:

  • Photographic skills
  • Drawing
  • Ability to express your innermost thoughts and feelings through painting
  • A gift for composing poetry
  • Artistic ability using digital design and technology


There are many possibilities. If you are living with an ED, or have lived with an ED, I will be pleased to hear from you.

Why would you want to part of this project?  Because like me, I’m sure you’ve had enough of a life shaped and driven by your ED. It’s time to be part of the solution, to bring significant recognition to one of the deadliest mental illnesses that exist. It is time to help others understand what daily life with an ED is really like.

The truth is sad

In general, the medical profession has limited knowledge about the inner workings of a mind that has been seized, twisted and turned by a sneaky and debilitating ED. This is rarely due to a doctor or nurse’s ability, but rather, the inadequacy of an educational system that gives little attention to eating disorders. What does this mean?  Well, in those rare instances when we find the courage to approach a health professional for help, it means our cry for assistance is often not heard in the way we need to be heard.

I’m not criticizing the expertise of our medical profession. The problem I speak of lies within the educational system and, ultimately, our government’s willingness to address eating disorders with a boost in resources.

Sadly, the current situation often results in poor patient care and, in turn, an over-excited ED that runs riot in the mind of the person seeking help. Imagine visiting a doctor with the intention of sharing your eating disorder secret. How would you feel after your doctor tells you:

  • “You don’t look too skinny” or
  • “I bet that doesn’t feel good” or
  • ”Let’s see how much you weigh. Step on the scales”

As if they didn’t feel bad enough, a person with an ED often comes out of a consultation feeling 10 times worse. It doesn’t have to be this way. The truth and knowledge give power. This issue is complex. I’m trying to help spread an important message, to expose ED in a different and authentic light.

Do you want to make your ED experience count?

To find out how you can contribute and be involved in this illustrative and creative project, write to pichealer@outlook.com  Maybe you’d like to share a sample of your awesome skills. I will be thrilled to have you and your special talents on board.

**  All participants may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

1 Comment

  1. Julie Johnson  —  19 April 2021 at 10:26 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous idea Sam and I wish you all the very best receiving many responses and success with the stories/poems/pics etc. Lots of good wishes Julie xx


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