Dublin man Keith Russell battled eating disorder
Keith had been fighting depression and anxiety for years.
But it wasn’t until last year that he recognized they were linked to his ongoing eating issues and body dysmorphia.
Keith Russell realized he had an eating problem in his forties, due to having had a tough relationship with food since his youth.
Dublin man Keith Russell battled an eating disorder for 25 years before seeking help
As a teenager, the Dubliner started to feel identity in his shape after taking life-saving classes at a local swimming club. This proceeded to a depressive state, and Keith attempted suicide twice in his twenties.
Keith began to eat for comfort, which led to binges that kept him physically ill. He found he has body dysmorphia and a binge eating disorder at the age of 40.
He feels that a lack of information and the stigma around male mental health contributed to his problem lasting as long as it did.
He said to RSVP Live: “I had no idea there was a label for body dysmorphia. I had no idea there was such a thing as a binge eating disorder. It came out that I had been cohabiting with both for a long time.
“Nobody ever talked about males having eating or physical concerns while I was growing up. I didn’t have to say anything, and I didn’t have to admit anything.
Keith’s message is that anybody may suffer from an eating disorder or any other mental illness, and that we should all be taught about them and how to identify them.
“These things may happen to anyone,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter what your gender is, what your age is, or what you look like.
“Because I’m 41 now, I was more hard-pressed to say anything, because there’s already a stigma with guys, but I felt worse because I was a little older.” I wanted people to ask, ‘How have you not dealt with this until now?’ But now that I’m coping with it, I’m being totally open about it because I don’t want anyone else to suffer through it and remain silent, as I did.
“There is a shortage of education.” Eating disorders, especially in men, are a taboo problem that is never discussed. It’s not in the public light, and it’s put under the rug.”