Behind the Story: Mid-life eating disorders

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- When I received the assignment of investigating theincreasing trend of eating disorders in women over 30, I was excited to startthe 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 storywas ever so eye-opening.

I spent most of my time working on this story with anorexia survivor49-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 her25-year struggle with anorexia to not only me, but to the Lowcountry, wasbeyond brave.

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

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

Eating disorders affect 24 million Americans and it isstill a disease with such darkness surrounding it. Since it is a mentalillness, 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 morein our society, I think.

I am so thankful Donna, as well as nutritionist CharlotteCaperton-Kilburn, were both open to bringing this issue into the light andhelp educate others on the disease so that our community may be happier andhealthier 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.{}

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