Brittany Burgunder /
Toria Sheffield
February 28, 2018 10:19 am

It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and many are posting stories of their own experiences with eating disorders and mental health in order to highlight this important issue. Life coach Brittany Burgunder is an eating disorder survivor, and she has spent the last several years attempting to help others who are struggling.

Burgunder has weighed from 56 to 221 pounds over the course of her recovery process, and when she was at her lowest weight, her family was apparently told to start “planning her funeral.” An active social media user, Burgunder often says she never thought she’d have the healthy, body-positive life she currently leads, but she also stresses that every day marks a commitment to recovery.

Today, she posted three photos of herself on her website to highlight the fact that having an eating disorder doesn’t look one certain way.

In her caption, she wrote, “What do you “see” when you look at this photo?”

Let me tell you what I see… I see a girl with low self-esteem, a girl who’s lonely and never feels good enough. I see anxiety -fear, doubt, paralysis, suffocation. I see depression -isolation, turmoil, defeat, a life not worth living. I see anorexia -a coping mechanism innocently turned deadly. Numbing my internal pain by focusing on calories, weight, exercise. Watching life and opportunities crumble into ruins. Sensing my parents’ pain and fear when my weight dropped to 56 pounds. I see binge eating disorder -a violent counter to starvation. Numbing my internal pain by secretly focusing on binging all day. Letting food artificially fill the emptiness within. Watching the scale flash 221 pounds only a year and a half later. I see bulimia -desperation to regain control. Numbing my internal pain with a vicious binge -laxative -restrict -repeat cycle that was seemingly endless. I see the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. I see it equally in all my different physical forms -because the turmoil in my mind was the same.

Burgunder makes an incredibly simple yet all-too-often overlooked point: You can’t judge a person’s mental health, nor can you tell if they have an eating disorder, based on their outward appearance. It’s a crucial reminder, especially for those of us who may have friends and loved ones who are struggling.

Thank you for making this critical point today, Brittany. We’re so incredibly inspired by your strength and your words.

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