A decade of eating disorder stories in The Diary Healer archive

A decade of eating disorder stories in The Diary Healer archive

A decade of eating disorder stories in The Diary Healer archive

An amazing depth of connection, awareness and self-discovery has evolved and blossomed through The Diary Healer blog since 2012. More than 500 first-person stories have been shared on the blog during this time.

The archive of Diary Healer blogs has grown into a rich resource for anyone seeking information about eating disorders and body image. The marvellous fact is that almost all these stories come from the voice of experience. Some stories remain in the top 10 most-read articles years after their publication.*

We have travelled and shared together

This post is dedicated to the readers and contributors — of varying ages, cultures, genders and races — who have accompanied me on this journey. We get along, we connect, because the eating disorder voice is universal and timeless. We instantly feel ‘at home’ with each other. Being able to share with others who understand the eating disorder voice comes as a huge relief when one has kept silent through fear for many years. On The Diary Healer blog we have learned and grown and have been enriched and empowered.

I started to blog shortly after recovering from a 44-year eating disorder. Reader response to my memoir, A Girl Called Tim, had revealed many adults were silently suffering from an eating disorder. This was the catalyst. I didn’t want others to suffer alone, as I had, for many years. I wanted a platform to share stories, connect, inform, and offer hope and encouragement. So, this blog exists because of you. We have travelled and shared together. You have inspired and guided the blog content and often have contributed to it. We have grown as one.

The Diary Healer blog also has documented the raw truths of your challenges and your hard-won accomplishments. Books have been written, studies have been completed, and life goals have been fulfilled.

How The Diary Healer blog readers became integral to my PhD

Since its launch, the blog has recorded how I have written books with leading eating disorder researchers; how I’ve travelled the world, to advocate at eating disorder conferences for improved access to care; and how I have completed a PhD based on the role of writing in my eating disorder experience. The Diary Healer blog was instrumental to my PhD project.

Seventy readers, who had kept a private diary for at least part of their eating disorder experience, responded to a blog call-out and became my research participants for three years. This was a wonderful example of collaboration among people united through having an eating disorder and keeping a diary. The experience was uplifting for us all, leading to the publication of Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders – The DiaryHealer. Writing has shaped my life and the blog interaction has been like a guiding star leading the way to fresh purpose and fulfilment.

Now, as with many things in life, the time is ripe for a change, for renewal. Accordingly, this post is the last to appear on The Diary Healer. Next week a new chapter will start. I look forward to sharing this new site with you. I hasten to add that all your stories are coming along to the new site, too. Everything will be preserved.

Before explaining more, a little more reflection on achievements during the life of The Diary Healer:

We are not alone – we are here for each other

Together we have raised awareness about eating disorders – in homes, in communities, in the health sector and in government. Together we have advocated for improved access to care for people with eating disorders symptoms – locally, nationally, and internationally.

During the lifetime of this blog, we have come a long way.

We have helped to reduce the loneliness and alienation that can occur due to ignorance, denial, misinterpretation and misunderstanding when experiencing an eating disorder.

We have helped people with eating disorder symptoms to give themselves “permission” to bravely ask for help – to ask for help without succumbing to feelings of shame and stigma, self-loathing, and weakness.

We have helped raise awareness at all levels that an eating disorder is a SERIOUS ILLNESS.

Early intervention and prevention is the best approach to keeping eating disorders at bay. However, many people slip through the gaps. Gaps in care are reducing but there is much advocacy work yet to do. We have encouraged and empowered people with eating disorders to reach out for help. We have helped people around the world to understand and believe that recovery of their healthy self is possible at EVERY AGE.

The best kind of experts – people with lived experience

The Diary Healer blog has developed and grown into an abundance of stories from the best kind of experts – especially the lived experience experts. Other contributors include caregivers, mothers, fathers, daughters, doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and researchers.

Perhaps the most gratifying observation after more than a decade of blogging is that “experts in experience” have emerged from the dark into the light. People with experience have become, and continue to become, a valued and respected part of treatment teams, research, and advocacy at the highest level. There is a long way to go in this endeavour, in countries such as Korea but, through the courage of those with lived experience calling for improved access to treatment, we are taking major steps forward. In helping others, we help ourselves.

Also, we are listening to stories more! Stories are important. Many answers to the complex mysteries of disorders will be found in the stories of people with experience. Stories often reveal hidden clues in the mind or soul that will not be uncovered during a medical examination. We need to ask open-ended questions and listen. Story-sharing is a wonderful self-help and help-others tool. Story-sharing allows trust to build. This truth shines through repeatedly in my blog.

A focus on story-telling for everyone, at every age

I look forward to welcoming you and sharing your stories, on my new site.

This new site, while continuing to advocate for improved access to care for people with eating disorders, will focus on the benefits of story-telling.

My experience is that writing – in a diary or shared publicly in a safe and supportive environment like The Diary Healer blog – can help us be our own best friend.

Writing can be healing and much more, besides. Writing, especially when shared with someone we trust, can help us feel like we belong, like we are worthwhile, and like we have a purpose.

Writing can help us achieve ongoing healing from an eating disorder or other major life challenges. Not everything that happens to us can be recovered. When this happens, writing can help us to repackage irretrievable losses and painful experiences into the context of our life, so that we are free to live our best life. We all deserve this.

This is what my new site will be about. I look forward to your suggestions and contributions.

Warmly, June

  • To call up a story from the archive of Diary Healer blogs place your keywords in the search space situated in the bottom righthand corner of The Diary Healer, and a list of related stories will appear for you to click on and read.
June Alexander

About June Alexander

All articles by June Alexander

As founder of Life Stories Diary my prime motivation is to connect with people who want to share their story. Why? Because your story is important. My goal with this blog is to provide a platform for you to share your story with others. Building on the accomplishments of The Diary Healer the Life Stories Diary blog will continue to be a voice for people who have experienced an eating disorder, trauma or other mental health challenge, and provide inspiration through the narrative, to live a full and meaningful life.

My nine books about eating disorders focus on learning through story-sharing. Prior to writing books, which include my memoir, I had a long career in print journalism. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), researching the usefulness of journaling and writing when recovering from an eating disorder or other traumatic experience.
Today I combine my writing expertise with life experience to help others self-heal. Clients receive mentoring in narrative techniques and guidance in memoir-writing. I also share my editing expertise with people who are writing their story and wish to prepare it to publication standard. I encourage everyone to write their story. Your story counts!
Contact me: Email june@junealexander.com and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

2 Responses

  1. Anne Parker says:

    Thank you so much for all your help and support and for creating a place for stories to be shared. Writing has been a big part of my ED experience. I look forward to seeing your new site and hope I can get far enough to share my story too.
    Anne xx

    • Dear Anne, Thank you for your kind note. Your hard-won words of wisdom, that you have shared with readers, will be preserved in The Diary Healer’s archive. I look forward to your participation on the new site, and I encourage you to get in touch when you are ready to share your story. Your story counts!
      June xoxo

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