Nobody ever notices the way she pushes the food around her plate, never really eating more than a couple bites.

Or the way she always excuses herself from the table early, disappearing for a while at a time.

She prefers to lock the door and eat in solitude, just to drape her head over a toilet bowl an hour later.

She spends long nights laying awake, scrolling through pictures of Instagram models and fashion icons, wondering why she cannot look like them.

These are the harsh realities that many people face every day.

It is estimated that more than 725,000 people in the U.K. are affected by an eating disorder.

Body image can be an issue for people of any shape and size, and especially for those suffering from mental illnesses.

Eating disorders and mental disorders are critical issues that have been around since the beginning of time and are the most difficult diseases to diagnose, for there are often no visible symptoms.

Back in the day, people with mental disorders would be locked up and treated as disabled, instead of having the opportunity to talk through their issues and receive proper care.

In today’s society, however, despite of the opening of care centres and development of proper treatments, the media’s role in mental illness can have impacts detrimental to one’s self-image and resulting health.

In the modern era, countless people suffer from things such as anxiety and depression, which, even in mild forms, negatively impact their daily routines.

Living with anxiety includes a constant feeling of worry and a panic that sneaks up on you.

One moment everything will be fine, and then suddenly your thoughts become overwhelming, your muscles tense up, and it can become difficult to breathe.

The same goes for living with depression – you have your bad days, and then you have your really bad days.

However, one can go weeks, months, or even years being depressed without anyone ever knowing, for so much can be masked with a smile.

You know it’s all just in your head, but you have no idea how to get it out. Being told to “calm down,” or “be happy,” only makes it worse.

It’s not that easy.

It’s like this: Imagine your spouse hangs a painting that you absolutely despise, and you have pointed out every detail that you do not like about it.

Over time, you can learn to tolerate it and become less upset at the view, but it would be very difficult to spontaneously fall in love with the image and genuinely appreciate its beauty.

The same works with body image.

You cannot unsee flaws.

You cannot just forget about thoughts that have been nagging at you for years.

Although there is often no real “cure,” it is very possible to recover, to heal, and to find peace.

And nobody should have to face it alone.

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