Behind the Story: Mid-life eating disorders - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Behind the Story: Mid-life eating disorders

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- When I received the assignment of investigating the increasing trend of eating disorders in women over 30, I was excited to start the journey. My cousin was once severely anorexic, and having seen friends deal with eating disorders in my school days, I was extremely interested in the subject.

What I learned about the disease in working on this story was ever so eye-opening.

I spent most of my time working on this story with anorexia survivor 49-year-old Donna Friedman, of Mount Pleasant. Donna is just that, a survivor. She inspired me in more ways than one and the fact that she would share her 25-year struggle with anorexia to not only me, but to the Lowcountry, was beyond brave.

Donna helped take me into her world and see just how awful the disease really was for her, starting at age 19 and lasting until she was 42.

As Donna says, she missed out on 25 years of her life battling such a horrible disease -- a disease that consumes your almost every thought. The images that stick out to me are when Donna told me how she used to read cookbooks to trick her brain into feeling full, as well as being envious of people she saw in the mall eating, thinking to herself, "I wish I could do that."

Eating disorders affect 24 million Americans and it is still a disease with such darkness surrounding it. Since it is a mental illness, it's a topic many are afraid to touch. I had no idea before digging into this story that eating disorders are the number one killer of mental illnesses.

This just confirms the fact that eating disorders need to be talked about more in our society, I think.

I am so thankful Donna, as well as nutritionist Charlotte Caperton-Kilburn, were both open to bringing this issue into the light and help educate others on the disease so that our community may be happier and healthier in the fight against eating disorders.

Tune in to ABC News 4 on Monday at 6 p.m. to watch Eating Disorders in Women Over 30 and follow along with Donna's 25-year journey. 

  • Stefanie Bainum

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