When it comes to almost any mental health issue, oftentimes the only way for things to get better is to talk about it. Iskra Lawrence's Instagram about National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is a beautiful reminder of exactly that. The 28-year-old model has always been vocal about the importance of self-love, self-acceptance, and in the past, she's openly shared some of her own struggles with things like disordered eating and body dysmorphia. It seems like it's always been important to Lawrence to let her fans know that they're not alone in whatever they might be going through, and her post during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week shows just how much she cares about giving a platform to these topics.
Lawrence took to social media on Monday, Feb. 25 to share a little more about her past experiences with disordered eating, and to offer support to others who might be coping with similar issues. She wrote,
I have shared my story with body dysmorphia and disordered eating with the world because I want to combat the stigma around this mental illness. And hopefully inspire you to know that what you might be feeling is completely normal, but there is help and hope.There’s communities online for support and helplines like @neda that are here for you!💚
Lawrence explained that her intention in sharing her story is to spread awareness and encourage others to consider not only their relationship with their body, but also the arbitrary "fantasies" that many people often project onto how someone is "supposed" to look. Lawrence wrote,
The reason I posted these pics is not a before and after, but this years theme is 🌟come as you are🌟I wish I had known that photoshop and retouching didn’t make me perfect or beautiful. Also that I didn’t have to be a “Male fantasy” look how posed the pic on the left is, how squished my poor boobies are. This was again another societal fantasy I thought as a woman I was expected to be.
Lawrence went on to talk about how she feels like she's finally at a point in her life where she's "never felt more beautiful or sexy" just being her own true self, and a point where she knows she is loved and supported for who she is, not because she's embodying a certain type of "fantasy" or because she fits into a certain mold.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, around 30 million people of all ages and genders deal with some form of disordered eating in the U.S., and "every 62 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder," per the organization.
Eating disorders clearly represent an important mental health issue to engage with and spread awareness about, and in her Instagram post, Lawrence suggested that if you have any questions or are looking to learn more about disordered eating, one helpful resource to check out is the free online eating disorder screening tool from The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Lawrence also mentioned in her Instagram post that, for 2019's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (taking place between Monday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, March 3), NEDA has partnered with Instagram for a campaign called #ComeAsYouAre. According to a post on NEDA's official website, #ComeAsYouAre is a "movement to let individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery know that their stories are valid," and encourage those individuals to share their stories — "the real, the mess, the un-perfect moments," per NEDA's post — on Instagram.
So, if you feel comfortable doing so, consider sharing your own story about body acceptance on Instagram, and if you do, be sure to use the hashtag #ComeAsYouAre.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.