Recovery - Why the Eugenia Cooney Story is Important
WARNING- - - - First of all please let me say the video does start with trigger warnings, and I would not encourage anyone to watch if they are feeling vulnerable as there are some potentially triggering scenes. However this is Eugenia's life and one she has lived online since 2013 so its scenes taken from various Your Tube videos she has previously posted.
Im completely anti pro-ana content, and I recall a few years ago someone asking me to look at a young lady called Eugenia Cooney's videos as they felt they were potentially triggering to others and bordering on pro-ana.
At the time I felt, yes if you were looking for an 'underweight' You Tuber to be inspired by then yes she fit that bill physically, however she was not encouraging others to follow a diet, eating disorder or even discuss eating disorders I did not feel she was actively being pro-ana.
In fact she always denied having any sort of illness (therein lies another complexity - denial)
This is where the complexities lie within eating disorders as you cannot judge anyone on weight alone. I have various friends who are often told they look malnourished, when in fact they have always been that shape and size and feel very offended that people always assume they have something wrong with them.
So this week trending on twitter was a video by Shane Dawson called "The Return of Eugenia Cooney' - so I had to watch as I had not heard Eugenia's name for sometime.
Firstly I did not know who Shane Dawson was and Ive now learned so much about him before writing this piece. He has indeed had disordered eating and body dysmorphia so can relate to some of the experiences from his own personal battle, so from that perspective is well placed to make the video.
Shane handled the whole video really well in my opinion. He sought professional advice on how to approach topics without triggering and at one point he even suffered his own self doubt moment where he went through what I would describe as "Imposter Syndrome" but thankfully he was soon reminded that his intentions were all for good and that Eugenia had in fact asked him to do this.
Also Eugenia said no topic was off the table if it was going to help others. Which was incredible for her to say as she has obviously been through therapy and is now embracing recovery, which is a very vulnerable time.
It's now had over 22 millions views and to me this can only be a good thing if it raises the awareness of eating disorders and helps end the stigma, thus saving lives. It also shows recovery can happen, albeit it slowly.
But what came over the most was Eugenia is a very sweet, caring and loving young lady who loves her online relationships and connections she has with her followers.
I also know that they are all going to be an integral part of her recovery as she has now been open and honest about her illness.
Also she has great support and love from her parents and therapy centre.
Im grateful for each and everyone who takes the time to speak openly about this cruel, dangerous and very complex illness. The more we all talk the better things will be for sufferers, families and friends.
So for that Im sending them them my gratitude and love.
To Eugenia - having been down the same path and now fully recovered I know how hard this will be, it will feel like a nightmare battle each day, however keep fighting and take baby steps. You will beat this and please never give up!
I truly hope one day I will have the opportunity to meet you :)