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Overcoming Anorexia and Anxiety with Chloë Grande

Episode 54|34:36 min|

Podcast Categories: COVID-19, Recovery, Young People,

#OurAnxietyStories – The Anxiety Canada Podcast
#OurAnxietyStories – The Anxiety Canada Podcast
Overcoming Anorexia and Anxiety with Chloë Grande
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Did you know that eating disorders and anxiety disorders can overlap?  

In this episode of #OurAnxietyStories, Chloë Grande reflects on the intersection of anxiety and anorexia. Diagnosed with anorexia at 15, Chloë shares that a recent eating disorder relapse during the COVID-19 pandemic led her to recognize the role social anxiety plays in her mental health journey. Having studied communications, Chloë created a mental health blog in hopes of helping others with similar challenges feel understood and less alone.  

If you or someone you know is concerned about eating habits or body image, check out Jessie’s Legacy’s free and anonymous body image and eating attitudes online self-tests. These self-tests can help test-takers reflect on how their habits and beliefs may impact their quality of life and whether they could benefit from additional support or resources. Please note: self-tests are not a diagnostic tool and will not provide or confirm a diagnosis. To learn more about how anxiety and disordered eating may overlap, visit HeretoHelp.BC.ca. 

About the Guest

Chloë Grande is a communications specialist turned eating disorder recovery writer, speaker and activist. In ED recovery for 10+ years, she is open about her experiences with mental illness and educating others on the stereotypes and stigmas that exist. She’s a fan of yoga and reading, and draws inspiration from individuals who embrace their vulnerabilities. Her advocacy work has been featured in the media on CBC, CP24, Global News and more. You can learn more about Chloë by visiting her website, www.chloegrande.com, or following her on Instagram and Twitter: @Chloshegrows.

"It really wasn’t until the pandemic and lockdown hit that I realized how bad my social anxiety had been and that it in fact had been brewing in the background but was overshadowed by my eating disorder."

- Chloë Grande

This podcast is brought to you by Anxiety Canada™, a leader in developing free, online self-help and evidence-based anxiety resources. For more information and resources, please visit our website and download our app, MindShift™ CBT.

Transcript

Intro: This is #OurAnxietyStories, the Anxiety Canada podcast, with John Bateman. This is the place where people from all walks of life share their anxiety stories to remind you that you are not alone. If you have an anxiety story you’d like to share, contact us at anxietycanada.com/ouranxietystories. 

John Bateman: My name is John Bateman, and you’re listening to Our Anxiety Stories, the Anxiety Canada podcast. Today, I’m talking to Chloë Grande. She’s a Canadian mental health blogger, writer, and speaker. Having been in eating disorder recovery for 10+ years, she knows the importance of speaking out about this deadly illness in hopes people will learn from her story and experiences. Apart from her eating disorder advocacy, Chloë also loves reading yoga and cats. Welcome Chloë.  

Chloë Grande: Hi John. Thanks so much for having me.  

John Bateman: Glad to have you here. Cats give me anxiety. I don’t think we need cover that, but that’s okay. 

Chloë Grande: Oh no. 

John Bateman: I’ve got four, so that probably says it all. I want to kick off this interview as I kick off all my interviews by asking you this seemingly simple yet surprisingly complicated question. Chloë, what’s your anxiety story.  

Chloë Grande: My anxiety story is a rocky one. I grew up struggling with an eating disorder, so I think for a lot of my life, that eating disorder overshadowed a lot of other underlying mental health challenges and struggles. It really wasn’t until the pandemic and lockdown hit that I realized how bad my social anxiety had been and that it in fact had been brewing in the background but was overshadowed by my eating disorder. So fortunately, at that time, when I was seeking help for my eating disorder relapse, which again, one of the challenges of the pandemic, it was a therapist who pointed out, I think you may also have some social anxiety here going on. And once I was able to piece those apart, of course, there was a lot of overlap between the two illnesses and how they present, then I’ve been really able to recognize how much it’s affected my life and impacted my work, my relationships. So, it’s something I’ve come pretty far to do. And even being on this podcast makes me very nervous, but I know it’s something that is challenging my social anxiety in every aspect. 

John Bateman: Yep. So, we’re engaging in some exposure therapy right now. So, what I want to quickly get into, my question is, before I ask you a question about, directly about the eating disorder, do you have an idea of which came first? Do you feel like you had some kind of anxiety problem issue first and then that led to an eating disorder? Or was it vice versa? Do you have any sense of that?  

Chloë Grande: I don’t think I recognized or knew what anxiety was. I thought, especially with social anxiety too, sometimes there’s a lot of misconceptions there. Someone who’s a loner just wants to be alone, or it gets mistaken or used in the sense of oh, they’re introverted, or they’re shy. So those are all terms that I resonated with growing up and so I really didn’t know what it was. But I think looking back in retrospect, the anxiety was definitely there and then grew and grew as I became more independent. And yeah, a lot of those safety behaviors that I had, being with my family, hiding behind my mom as I grew older… those things were stripped away and you step into your own skin and recognize, oh, wait a second, there’s something else going on.  

John Bateman: Yeah, I’ve definitely been there. So, you didn’t have a sense of physical symptoms of anxiety necessarily in terms of upset stomach or, anger or sadness or whatever physical symptom might pop up from it. 

Chloë Grande: The biggest one was sleep. I had a lot of trouble going to sleep. I’d just replay the events of the day.  

John Bateman: Oh, okay. Yes. Rumination.  

Chloë Grande: Yes. Got to love that.  

John Bateman: Yeah. So good. Especially at night.  

Chloë Grande: And I thought it was normal. I just didn’t know that was something not everyone had to deal with, honestly.  

John Bateman: Maybe if you don’t mind, give me an idea of what you in particular… I’m sure you’ve done a lot of research on eating disorders, and I know eating disorders are very complicated and there’s many different shapes and kinds. But from your perspective, how did your eating disorder present itself? What did it look like for you on a day-to-day basis?  

Chloë Grande: That’s exactly it, they’re really complicated mental illnesses. So, it does look different for every single person. I think it’s important to understand too, my personality, growing up, being very perfectionistic competing in some aesthetic sports, dance, gymnastics, those types of things. Being really hard on myself. I think that’s a quality that folks with eating disorders tends to go across the spectrum, but also at that same time, having very low self-esteem, feeling very self-conscious about my appearance and really feeling deeply unfulfilled in terms of my appearance and thinking that if I could somehow control a certain aspect of it, and that element of control came through my food intake, then I would somehow feel better or more successful. And of course, that was the opposite of what happened. So, restriction just led to me feeling more tired. I wasn’t able to do the activities I loved doing as much. I was isolating myself a lot more. So fortunately, I did have some really wonderful supports within the sport of gymnastics. And it was my coaches that intervened. They were the ones that noticed the signs. And that’s when I got professional help. 

John Bateman: In terms of that gymnastics, a lot of pressure in that. And so, your coaches were aware at that time that this was an issue. Is this something that you think is prevalent within that sport?  

Chloë Grande: I can’t blame gymnastics for causing the eating disorder, that’s for certain. Unfortunately, I think any athlete has this added pressure on being very conscious of their body and their size and their shape, etc. 

John Bateman: For sure. 

Chloë Grande: So, it was probably top of mind for the coaches and I’m sure they’d seen it with other gymnasts. So yeah, I’m very grateful. I think they’re aware of the signs and how it presents. And I think when you’re sick with an eating disorder, you don’t know what’s happening. Like your view is so distorted, your brain is starved. You’re really not thinking clearly. It was a complete shock to me when they said they were concerned. I thought I was doing nothing wrong.  

John Bateman: So, you didn’t really know that you, “had something” or you had an eating disorder or a mental health issue at that point. 

Chloë Grande: That’s exactly it. I had no idea.  

John Bateman: That’s really interesting. So how did that feel when that was presented to you? What were the mechanics of that, when they sat you down and then what was the process after that happened?  

Chloë Grande: So much anger actually thinking back. Almost insulting, like oh how dare you think I have an eating disorder. And at the time too, I think my awareness of eating disorders was based on… I didn’t really have social media, but I saw magazines, so I thought of celebrities like the Olsen twins.  

John Bateman: Yeah.  

Chloë Grande: And that was my idea of what someone with an eating disorder looked and acted like. And I felt very ashamed and almost disgusted. Like oh that’s not me. I’m very healthy. And this idea of health, I think was a big driving factor behind some of the behaviors. And of course, I was really hurting my health, but denial was just another really big thing when I was confronted. It took time and many conversations for me to piece apart myself from the eating disorder, because I think the two just became all bunched up and jumbled together that I couldn’t separate it. 

John Bateman: Of course. I don’t know how, with any mental health illnesses, the desire is for me is to have, have it separate. Like, oh anxiety isn’t a part of me. It took me so many years to realize that it’s a fundamental part of me, whether I like it or not. And then, above and beyond that, how to for lack of a better term use it for good, rather than evil. Like, not allow it to hurt me, but allow it to inform me, allow it, to inform who I am. So, after you had that, after you came to terms with it what was the process for you? Did you go into counseling? Did you go to group? Did you go to a clinic? How did it work for you from that point in terms of a path to feeling better?  

Chloë Grande: I thought you said come to terms, because I think, even when I was past the denial stage, it was still secret for probably 10 years.  

John Bateman: Is that right? Wow.  

Chloë Grande: Yes. Yes. And I was 15 years old when I was first diagnosed. And so, what that looked like is when the coaches spoke to me, I was then referred to a school counselor and I think she had a duty to report what she saw, what was going on. Because she was quite concerned about my health at that point. And then, so that led to me seeing my family doctor, my family getting involved and then a referral to an outpatient program at a children’s hospital in Hamilton.  

John Bateman: So, this happened, like this happened when you were still in 15, 16 years old? 

Chloë Grande: Yeah. That’s right. So, this is when I was still in High School. 

John Bateman: So, your family knew what was going on, but outside of that, you kept it quiet outside of that. Yeah. Fair enough, for sure.  

Chloë Grande: And my family was a pivotal part because the therapy I did was family-based therapy. It’s one of the most effective treatments for anorexia.  

John Bateman: Can you describe what that process is? I haven’t heard of it. 

Chloë Grande: Sure. Of course. I hated it because I thought I was just dragging everyone else into my own issues. But I can see how that family part was so important. The eating disorder was thriving in secrecy. And so, my family was really important to get my eating back on track to keep me motivated, to keep me company during mealtimes, help hold me accountable… And even just to distract me. I think the eating disorder took away so much pleasure from my life and just having my sister there to tell a joke and entertain me while I’m slowly picking away at my meal was really helpful. We would go in, drive whatever an hour outside of the town to get there, because there was nothing where we’re located. So, it was pretty disruptive for our lives I would say. We were going, I was taken out of class, and I would speak to the psychiatrist one on one. They do a medical assessment and then the whole family would come together and speak with the psychiatrist. We’d have homework and… Yeah, even thinking back I get a bit tense because it was pretty stressful.  

John Bateman: Yeah. You’ve obviously learned about eating disorders across the board, your own specific, your specific kind or how it presents with you. I’m assuming there’s lots of different ways that eating disorders present themselves, because I think, for me, the common conception is, oh, people start eating less and less to create a body that they think looks better. Or people keep maybe eating more and more. I don’t really, I don’t fully understand how it works. So, there is quite a spectrum to how people, how that eating disorder manifests in them? Is there a spectrum to that?  

Chloë Grande: There’s a spectrum for sure. That’s a good word to describe it. I would say, depending on your gender, your background or your demographics, it presents a lot differently as well. One thing I’m noticing, especially on social media is this whole fitness influencer culture. I’m seeing a lot of problematic, disordered eating behaviors there with such a focus on weighing your food, only eating certain specific foods. And this is all supposed to be for the pursuit of health, but to me, I’m seeing a lot of red flags. And I think that’s how it starts. It starts off very subtle. And then I found the thoughts just really became so strong and so overpowering that it just completely controls you.  

John Bateman: Yeah. And I guess what you’re saying is health, from what I gather, health doesn’t really have a body type. Health doesn’t mean you’re ripped and 0.2 body fat. Health can be a lot of different things. And achieving that I guess is, to get to that point. Is your eating disorder, something that you constantly have to service? Is it something you’re on top of all the time or did you reach different stages where you could let go a little bit or you didn’t have to focus on it so much, so much of the process of controlling it.  

Chloë Grande: So, after that family-based treatment, I met all the criteria like check, check, all the medical stuff was looking great. But I think, with mental illness, obviously there’s a lot that happens under the surface though, even though I was presenting physically a bit different, a lot of the behaviors I think were still there. And big life changes really impact eating disorders, disordered eating. It’s a way to try to control aspects of our life when other things feel out of control. So, university was really challenging. And then when the pandemic hit, so at this point, this was over 10 years after my initial diagnosis. And honestly it felt like overnight, right away, all these behaviors rushed back almost immediately.  

John Bateman: Interesting. Yeah. That’s a real regression. 

Chloë Grande: Yeah. And I think my body was just trying to protect me. I think similar to what you said about anxiety, eating disorders can be a coping mechanism. It’s not a healthy coping mechanism, but in some ways, I think it was trying to protect me. And that was a really eye opening point because I realized, I needed to get a different sort of help as an adult. It’s very different when you’re a teenager going through family therapy. And then here I was, living alone. My mom’s not going to come over and sit and watch me eat dinner. 

John Bateman: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, there’s that where you have to start becoming autonomous and being fully responsible for what you’re going through.  

Chloë Grande: Exactly. Exactly. And then that’s when I realized too, that, this whole element of secrecy was really becoming burdensome. And, especially over the pandemic, when I could see a lot of other people struggling, that’s when I started to blog, being more open about my own eating disorder. It was overwhelming having strangers and colleagues who had kids with eating disorders… It’s really a lot more prevalent than we think.  

John Bateman: Yeah. I want to jump to the blog in a second, but I just wanted to quickly, because right off the top of this. Discussion, you mentioned social anxiety. And I want to know what does social anxiety look like for you? And does it, do you feel like… is it something that… is it a protective thing? Basically, what does social anxiety look like for you? Or how does it present itself with you.  

Chloë Grande: Probably the simplest way I could put it is it’s this idea that all my flaws will be revealed by other people, and they’ll see the “true me.” They’ll know that I’m socially anxious, I think. That’s also at the underlying part of it and that I’m not as, as good as other people for speaking or for, presenting myself. So, it’s more than just the fear of judgment. It’s a fear of knowing who I actually am. 

John Bateman: So that limited your sort of your movement, your social movements. That limited your interactions with people pretty regularly. 

Chloë Grande: I would say one thing was it meant that I overthought and over rehearsed and spent a lot of energy seeing myself how others would see me rather than just living my life for how I would want to live my life.  

John Bateman: Yeah. Yeah.  

Chloë Grande: It was like, there was always this external observer hanging out. 

John Bateman: Yeah. Anxiety can be so… It’s so isolating. And it’s so tricky in the way it starts working thoughts to me. I feel like I’m this big, huge thing that everybody can see. I feel like everybody can see what I’m thinking. What’s going on. Oh my gosh, there’s something wrong. Like I felt, I feel so transparent, when in reality, I flash back to my thinking trap work that I’ve done with CBT. I’m mind reading and catastrophizing and what they’re thinking really has nothing to do with me. But it definitely, in my experience, it definitely can make you feel like you are so isolated, but so exposed at the same time.  

Chloë Grande: For sure. Yeah. I feel like people seeing through you, I like the way that you described that. That’s exactly it and everyone of course is so absorbed with their own thoughts that they’re not even paying attention to you. 

John Bateman: Yeah. Now I want to get to this blog and because it’s amazing. I have had a chance to look over it. What was the impetus to get that started? When did you start it? How long have you been blogging? Is writing one of your things? What made you get going on that? Because that’s a big step for somebody with anxiety, let alone with largely misunderstood and stigmatized eating disorder. So yeah, when did you start doing that?  

Chloë Grande: I’ve toyed around the idea of a blog, probably since 2015. In full transparency, yes, I love writing. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. 

John Bateman: Oh, amazing. That’s good.  

Chloë Grande: I studied journalism communications in school as well, so it was just… 

John Bateman: Oh, excellent.  

Chloë Grande: Yeah. It was just a way of communicating that came a lot more naturally to me. I think even with social anxiety, If I was able to write something and then speak that made me feel a lot more comfortable than just going out and saying exactly what was on my mind. So, it was always something that I felt comfortable… because I felt I could prepare and control the messaging a little bit more. So, I had always struggled with a theme for the blog. I didn’t want it just to be a general lifestyle blog. And I think the pandemic showed me that I actually had something of value to share and it was just like breaking through that isolation. I was living alone in a basement by myself, and I thought the blog was a way to connect myself to others and help others feel less lonely. That’s probably my main motivation because I know that feeling, when I was 15 years old blogs like this didn’t exist. I wasn’t even on social media. I really truly believed I was the only person with an eating disorder, which sounds ridiculous. 

John Bateman: Everybody that I’ve spoken to through this podcast, almost all of them really felt like they were alone in what they were experiencing. It’s completely normal. So, how do you structure your blog? What do you decide to write about how much is it of anxiety or your eating disorder or your lifestyle? I’m really interested to hear, how you come up with ideas and material for it.  

Chloë Grande: I don’t ever run out of ideas. I just write them down in my phone or a notebook I’m carrying around. But yeah, like you said, when you’re living with the mental illness, it really is always on your mind. Working towards recovery. But it started more with a focus on eating disorders. And I think it’s grown to touch on different aspects because I’ve also struggled with depression and obviously social anxiety. And I’m recognizing too, when I speak about food and body image in more general terms, I think it relates to a lot more people. I did one post on how I feel more comfortable working at home than being in an office environment when it comes to food. And I was so shocked by how many people resonated with this and said they just hated the diet culture idea that existed in the office. But right now, I’m on a bit of a blogging break. My blog has actually grown into business, so I’m doing more speaking now, which is awesome because I feel like I’m reaching an even bigger audience and I’ll be chatting with university students because I felt again so isolated university. Thought I was the only one who is struggling with this. 

John Bateman: Yeah. What an amazing leap that is. When you first started getting responses, what I’m wondering is how the blog is… Because I know when I became transparent about my anxiety and depression issues, how much of a response I got from people and how it really helped me. And it helped other people. Through your blog, I take it, you must get feedback on your blog. How’s it helped you in terms of your mental struggles, you’re eating disorder and that kind of thing. Does it serve you in a therapeutic way? 

Chloë Grande: For sure. I’ve journaled also my whole entire life. Since I was seven years old. I don’t know if you can see in the back there’s a stack of journals.  

John Bateman: Oh yeah, there it’s. Yeah.  

Chloë Grande: So, this almost feels like journaling, but on a bigger platform, right? And I think even with journaling, it was just the idea of getting these thoughts out of your head and gaining, almost a third person perspective. And of course, just holding myself accountable too. Being so open about being in recovery, I feel that I want to stay in this place and I’m in a really great spot. And, if I were to get sick again, then that would actually really impact the work that I do. It’s changed my perspective in a really great way.  

John Bateman: Okay, so blogging is one thing, and having social anxiety is one thing, but how did you make that leap into actually physically speaking in front of people? Because to me that sounds completely counterintuitive. I believe it would be a good thing to do in terms of exposure therapy, but what has that leap been like for you? 

Chloë Grande: Yeah. A few other folks have brought that up too. Like what? That makes no sense! It’s almost like when I do speaking, I can take on a different persona. Or even when I’m blogging, sometimes it feels like I’m taking on a different persona, even though my therapist reminded me that, this is still you. And just to give myself more credit in that sense. 

John Bateman: Good point, excellent point. 

Chloë Grande: What I like about it is I can prepare what I’m going to say. So that element of preparedness plays into it. But also, I experienced recently, my worst-case scenario. I was pulling up my presentation, it was all virtual, I had my speaking notes ready to go… My computer froze. So that meant someone else needed to share the presentation without my notes.  

John Bateman: Oh, my goodness.  

Chloë Grande: And you should have seen my shirt afterwards. It was just drenched with sweat.  

John Bateman: Of course. But you made it through.  

Chloë Grande: I did. And then after that I was like, wait a second. I’m probably just over preparing, and I actually do know what I’m talking about, so… 

John Bateman: Right. Okay, so there you have a potentially negative thing turning into a positive for you.  

Chloë Grande: Exactly.  

John Bateman: I know exactly what you’re talking about, because a lot of people, in general, don’t have an understanding of the nuances and complications within anxiety. Outwardly, I can do a podcast, I can talk to you, I can go on TV, I can stand on a stage… I can do all that stuff but put me in a room full of a lot of people, and I’m not quite the same person. I’ll try and go and isolate and find one person to talk to. I feel like I have, when I’m up on a stage, I have control. I’ve got the microphone, nobody can talk back, and it’s just me interacting with, almost this blur of people. So, it’s really interesting. I think your example is important to let people know that anxiety… just because you have social anxiety doesn’t mean you aren’t able to go and talk. I’ve talked to broadcasters who have bad anxiety but put them on TV and you would have no idea.  

Chloë Grande: For sure. It presents in so many different ways. I’ve heard a lot of people too have driving anxiety. There’s just certain situations that cause flareups. Grocery stores is a big one for me too. 

John Bateman: Is that right? So, is that a tie on? That sounds like a tie in between social anxiety and food. Is that a fair assumption?  

Chloë Grande: Absolutely. I just find them so overwhelming too. And the pandemic played into this as well, because I already didn’t really like grocery shopping and then was like, okay, now you have to stand in line. I was living downtown Toronto, so two hours. I might be exaggerating slightly. A long time. You have to stand in line a long time. 

John Bateman: Felt like two hours.  

Chloë Grande: And this jampacked grocery store, stock was running low. There was, I guess this idea too, that we were running out of food. The scarcity mindset was playing into it. 

John Bateman: Yeah. Or the hoarding mindset.  

Chloë Grande: And just the fear of getting sick too, because my health anxiety skyrocketed. All these other types of anxiety, all bundled together.  

John Bateman: Yeah. But you still persevered through that.  

Chloë Grande: Yes. And also, again credit to my therapist for being out of the box and suggesting this, she’s like, why don’t you try ordering food to your house? Why don’t you try these alternative… why don’t you pick a grocery store that you actually enjoy going to? This never crossed my mind. I think with a lot of mental illness, it’s black or white, there’s only one way of doing things.  

John Bateman: And if you’ve incorporated something into that, what you consider to be a healthy regime, it’s hard to think of other ways that you could possibly do it. Me, I go to bed at 10, but I could go to bed at 9:30 and it would be just fine. Or I could go to bed at 10:30. It’d just be fine. But no, 10 is what keeps me completely balanced all the time.  

Chloë Grande: That’s right. Yeah.  

John Bateman: And of course, yeah, finding, being able to find that, that there’s some flexibility in the tools that we use, you know exactly what you’re talking about there. 

Chloë Grande: Yeah. Yeah. Just, exactly. Yeah. Being more flexible. What else has helped… Or just going with other people too. Of course, it wasn’t able to do that at the beginning of the pandemic.  

John Bateman: It seems like the pandemic, in some ways, it served people with anxiety in good and bad ways. You say you, you don’t sound like you’re really a go to the office kind of person.  

Chloë Grande: Never again.  

John Bateman: So, there you go. Yeah, you have that flexibility now and it sounds like things are going definitely in more of… you are going to be guiding your life. You’re going to be working for yourself kind of way. I don’t know if this is exclusively what you do or not, but it certainly can… It’s a matter of taking that negative and turning into something positive, for sure.  

Chloë Grande: Yes, it is. This is what I do full time as of this year, which is absolutely terrifying just to even say that out loud. 

John Bateman: Yeah. You don’t want to jinx it, right?  

Chloë Grande: Exactly. And even, I think the whole going from being fully masked to sometimes wearing mask was really anxiety inducing. And I’ve read too, there’s been research that has shown people with body image struggles as well, they really enjoyed the mask. They felt that it was like a protective element. And I’m hearing too from teachers that their kids that just would rather keep it on. And I totally understand where they’re coming from. I get that.  

John Bateman: When you’re up, when you’re speaking, what’s your… if you can, tell me what your sort of general message is when you’re up there talking to people. 

Chloë Grande: There’s a few. So, one is addressing that younger version of myself that had no one else to look at and look up to and see that light at the end of the tunnel. I truly believe that this eating disorder was going to be a lifelong illness that impacted me for decades and decades. Fortunately, was it was caught early on, so the chance of recovery is a lot higher within those first few years. And the second message is of that greater community, knowing that it’s not just you, that has these challenges. We all have a body. We all have body image. We all in some way can relate to someone that has an eating disorder because we’re consuming food, diet culture is surrounds us, fatphobia is everywhere. There’s some element of eating disorder culture that I think all of us can latch onto. And the third one is that you cannot know what someone is going through by judging their appearance. It’s less than 6% of people with eating disorders are medically underweight. You never know what someone is going through, and on that line, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t make comments on other folks’ bodies, even if it’s well intentioned, just stay away.  

John Bateman: Oh my gosh. I completely agree with that because I associate being thin as being unhealthy because when I would go into my points of depression, I would lose weight, like crazy. So fast. And so, to me that was unhealthy. So, when somebody said, oh, you’ve lost weight. Or, even if somebody saying, oh, you lost weight. I found that very upsetting, but people didn’t understand it because in our society losing weight is good.  

Chloë Grande: That’s exactly it. Yeah.  

John Bateman: Yeah. And I didn’t take the time to go around correcting people. I did on occasion correct people by saying just to let you know that I find that to be upsetting. And I’m like you, it’s said hello, maybe say, how are you, but this whole culture of judging people by their weight and how they look and whether they look “healthy” or “not healthy” is really challenging. And I think you’re bang on that it’s best to avoid it. 

Chloë Grande: Yes. Very problematic.  

John Bateman: Yeah. So, what you’re doing is absolutely amazing. I am really… Interviewing people like you, it’s so incredible to see people who have made that transition to being advocates because it’s very important to, if you can, like you can, be on stage or blog, that you use your voice. It’s tremendous. I thank you on behalf of the whole mental health world that you’re doing it because trust me, it is making a difference.  

Chloë Grande: That means a lot. I appreciate that. 

John Bateman: Oh yeah. For sure.  

Chloë Grande: It feels unreal at some points, right?  

John Bateman: Yeah, but… 

Chloë Grande: Takes time.  

John Bateman: It’s real. It’s real. I feel the same when I’m doing a podcast. I just love doing this because I get to meet people like you from all spectrums of the mental health world, and it’s amazing. I want people to know that Chloëgrande.com is where you can find the blog. And your Instagram and Twitter are both @chloshegrows that’s C-H-L-O-S-H-E grows. Good handles.  

Chloë Grande: Thank you. Little rhyme going on there. 

John Bateman: Yeah. Okay. Thanks so much for taking the time. I really look forward to chatting with you in the future and best of luck with all of your future endeavors, your speaking engagements, your blog. It’s absolutely fabulous. 

Chloë Grande: It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you for having me again.  

John Bateman: Okay. Take care.  

Chloë Grande: Bye now. 

Outro: Thank you for listening to #OurAnxietyStories. If you’d like to support this podcast or Anxiety Canada, go to AnxietyCanada.com.