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March 14, 2019

Eating Disorders are Color Blind: Listening, Correcting Imbalances, and Offering Hope – Part IV

Image of lady in a forest for Karla Mosley blog

This is Part 4 of this 5-part series where Chief Executive Officer of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Claire Mysko, MA is speaking with Dr. Mazella Fuller and Karla Mosley on their individual experiences as African-American women in the eating disorder community and about Karla’s personal experiences as an actress.

Claire: Karla, you have been very open about your own personal experience with an eating disorder, and I’m curious about what the reaction has been. What kind of feedback have you gotten, have people reached out to you to open up about their experiences?

Karla: In some ways, I have hesitated to be public about it not because of embarrassment but because of the journey of recovery. I have had ten years of not acting on eating disordered behaviors, but, the six years before those ten were up-and-down.

So, there is that fear of, “what if I talk about this publicly and eating disorders do what eating disorders can sometimes do which is to come back?”

With social media and the media in general, being a public person, there are positives and negatives to sharing my story, but it felt important to share and be vulnerable about what I have gone through, what I continue to go through on a daily basis.

The responses have been incredibly loving, a lot of understanding and relating. So, I’m happy about that.

It also helped me to remain human in the eyes of people. There is something about seeing someone on screen, and where we want to put them on a pedestal.

I certainly deserve no pedestal. I walk around just everyone else does. I think it is important to know about the people that we view on our screens every day.

Claire: We are so grateful to you for being willing to be vulnerable and put your experience out there. One of the things we hear so often through our helpline and outreach is that people don’t see themselves in the stories they hear about eating disorders.

I think that you being willing to share your story is so powerful and has a tremendous impact. So, thank you.

Klara: For me, it has helped me, too. It has helped me to connect to people who are going through the same things or have come through it and reminds me that I’m not alone and that, by speaking these things, we are all stronger as a unit.

Claire: That’s a very important message and, again, thank you for your courage and being able and willing to share your story.

One of the things that is a major priority for NEDA is connecting people to help and this idea of early intervention and being able to direct people to help sooner before their eating disorders become so entrenched.

Dr. Fuller, I’d like to get your perspective on this, particularly when we look at reaching audiences that have traditionally been left out of the conversation around eating disorders. What are your recommendations on how we can do a better job with early intervention in reaching African-American audiences?

Dr. Fuller: I think an important part is tapping into resources in the community, having professionals like myself speak at community engagements or churches, etc.

I think the bottom line is that everyone has to do their work. Each person needs to think about the historical implications of black women. I want to emphasize I’m speaking of black women but not every black woman. We’re not all the same.

Most of the people coming into our practice, whether unconscious or conscious, are impacted by the historical aspects. You have to join with your client to hear their narrative, not for them to educate you.

Group of People in Huddle Looking DownChances are, a black woman will see a white clinician because there aren’t that many black women providing that type of service.

If you want to really be ethical and support a person in their pain and in their journey of recovery, you have to work to be as compassionate as you can, to stay on top of your game, and keep yourself accountable to learning about their experience.

Claire: I think that is important, that willingness to always be learning. With eating disorders, there are so many co-occurring disorders and aspects that connect such as, like we discussed before, trauma.

Dr. Fuller, I just received a question from someone asking to repeat the name of the organizations that do provide training and mentor providers for eating disorder patients of colors, can you please mention those again?

Dr. Fuller: Certainly. I have the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP), Association of Black Psychologists, the National Association of Black Social Workers, are a few. Additionally, places such as Renfrew or Veritas will provide information about how to get mentorship or speakers.

Please See:

Eating Disorders are Color Blind: Listening, Correcting Imbalances, and Offering Hope – Part 1
Eating Disorders are Color Blind: Listening, Correcting Imbalances, and Offering Hope – Part 2
Eating Disorders are Color Blind: Listening, Correcting Imbalances, and Offering Hope – Part 3
Eating Disorders are Color Blind: Listening, Correcting Imbalances, and Offering Hope – Part 5


Source:

Virtual Presentation by Claire Mysko, MA, Karla Mosley, and Dr. Mazella Fuller in the December 8, 2018, Eating Disorder Hope Virtual Conference III: Blasting Through Bias: A Deep Dive into Underserved Populations and Global Issues 2018

Please visit the Virtual Conference page for other presentations.


Authors:

Claire Mysko

Claire Mysko, MA is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and an internationally recognized expert on eating disorders, body image, and media literacy. She is the author of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby (2009) and You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self (2008) an award-winning self-esteem manual for girls.

Mysko previously served as NEDA’s Chief Operating Officer, Director of Programs, and as a consultant on Proud2Bme and Proud2BMe On Campus, NEDA’s youth platforms. Prior to joining NEDA, she served as the director of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association and spearheaded the development of pioneering online communities at Girls Inc. and SmartGirl.

During her tenure at NEDA, Mysko has overseen a rapid expansion in both reach and programs, including the implementation of an evidence-based eating disorders prevention program in New York City schools, initiatives to bust prevailing myths about eating disorders, and the cultivation of key relationships with companies including Aerie, Crisis Text Line, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Learn More About Claire Mysko

Karla Mosley – Bio not provided

Dr. Mazella Fuller – Bio not provided


Image of Margot Rittenhouse.About the Transcript Editor: Margot Rittenhouse, MS, NCC, PLPC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.

As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on March 14, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on March 14, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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