Warning: The content below may be considered triggering to some.
Megan Jayne Crabbe is a body positive warrior.
The 23-year-old, who was diagnosed with anorexia when she was just 14, now runs a website and Instagram account called Bodyposipanda. The site and social media account detail Crabbe’s own experience with her eating disorder and how she learned to manage it. She also regularly posts inspirational messages that encourage people to love their bodies, as well as honest pictures of herself.
Last month, one of Crabbe’s photos went viral for its powerful “before and after” message.
“On the left is me 2 1/2 years ago, just before I found body positivity, and on the right is me today,” she wrote in the photo’s caption. “You’ll probably notice the most obvious thing I’ve gained between these two pictures: weight. But there are so many other things I’ve gained as well. I’ve gained mental freedom. I’ve gained self love. I’ve gained my life back after so many years of believing that I wasn’t worthy of living it because of how my body looked.”
To date, the popular post has nearly 100,000 likes and over 4,000 comments. While most of the comments were positive, some were not, so Crabbe decided to take action.
In her most recent “before and after” photo, Crabbe answered some of the mean remarks she got and told off hateful commentators with ease.
“’Wait so you just decided to RUIN your body?’ Nah, I just stopped torturing myself every day for not fitting an image I was never supposed to be,” Crabbe wrote. “’But you look so much healthier to me before.’ That’s funny, you looked so much more intelligent to me before you equated health with weight and forgot that mental health is health too.’”
Crabbe continued her comment-and-clapback style for a few more remarks, before ending on a note of positivity.
“...As it turns out, happiness isn’t a size. And I wasted far too many years believing that it was. Now I’m not going to stop letting people know that they deserve happiness exactly as they are,” she said. “They deserve to live now, not 10 pounds from now. They deserve that mental freedom. So to every person reading this: I hope you get your freedom too, however it might look. I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.”
Hell. Yes. Keep going for all of us, Megan.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S., and 0.9 percent of women will suffer from anorexia in their lifetime. The mental health condition is characterized by comorbid mood and anxiety disorders, like obsessive thoughts, depression and social phobias.
Crabbe’s openness with her followers helps eliminate some of the stigma surrounding the mental health condition. Talking about her own experiences and shedding a positive light on treatment could help others to seek support ― something that research shows people don’t do due to fear of judgement or shame.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.