Watch Mandy’s Powerful TedX Talk


Shining Light on Shadows: The Story Behind My TEDx Talk

I want to take you on a journey behind the scenes of one of the most daunting yet pivotal moments of my life: my TEDx talk. This wasn’t just a speech. It was a deeply personal mission to bring to light the silent, hidden struggles of anorexia, eating disorders, and exercise addiction. For years, this talk had been written on my heart, waiting for the right moment to be shared. It terrified me, but it was a conversation that needed to happen—a talk I needed during the depths of my own darkness.

Eating disorders thrive in secrecy, shrouded in lies and misconceptions. They are diseases built on control—control over what we eat, how we exercise, and how we present ourselves to the world—because so much in life feels uncontrollable. We hide behind excuses: “I’m just being healthy,” “I eat clean,” all the while knowing deep down that these are justifications for actions driven by pain and fear. The loss of control, or perhaps the desperate need for it, goes far beyond the numbers on the scale.

Silence only feeds the disease. No two cases of anorexia or exercise addiction are exactly the same, but the feelings of isolation, shame, and judgment are universally felt by those who suffer. My goal in giving this talk was to strip away that shame, remove the judgment, and shine a light on the shadows that these diseases cast over our lives. At first, my voice was shaking, and I could barely say the words out loud. But that initial quiver evolved into a voice I felt empowered to amplify for so many who couldn’t. By speaking out, I hoped to make everyone feel united in their struggle and empowered to turn their tragedy into triumph.

Talking openly is a powerful act. The power in addressing these issues lies in discussing them candidly. By bringing our struggles into the light, we begin to take away their power. We start to heal. I wanted to create a space where people felt seen, heard, and understood—a place where they could find the courage to confront their demons without fear of stigma.

This talk was for all of us. It was for anyone who has ever felt alone in their battle, who has ever felt like they couldn't speak their truth. It was my way of saying, “You are not alone. Your struggle is valid. And there is hope.”

To those of you who have supported me, who have listened, shared, and engaged with my journey, thank you. And to those who are new here, if you haven't yet listened to my talk, I encourage you to do so. Share it with anyone who might need it, and join me in continuing this crucial conversation.

Together, we can shine a light on the shadows and reclaim our power.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The National Alliance for Eating Disorders is there for you. It's FREE & Confidential. Their Hours of operation are Mon - Fri, 9am-7pm EST. Call 1 (866) 662-1235, or visit their website:


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