Whilst at the Feel Happy Eating Fix, the big subject of the media came up. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about the role of the media on eating disorders. It is a large topic, one that can bring up a lot of opinion. Honestly, I do think that the media plays a big role on the development of eating disorders. When you watch TV, all you see is girls all the same size – all thin, all with the perfect flat stomach and sun-kissed tan…all incredibly beautiful. I have sat and watched TV for over an hour and have not seen one overweight or even normal weight person on the TV adverts. It makes me so incredibly sad. If children are growing up seeing incredibly thin and beautiful models all over TV, shops and the internet then of course they are going to want to be like them.
When it comes to eating disorders, there is no size guideline. I don’t care what anyone says. An Eating Disorder is a serious psychiatric illness and is not characterised by how much a person weighs. If a person is thinner, it does not mean they are anymore ill than someone of normal size. Everyone with an eating disorder is ill and needs help and care. It is wrong to view eating disorders as a weight illness. In a person with an eating disorder, the brain is disorded to think that food is bad for you. An eating disorder comes along with many mental illnesses including depression, anxiety and body dysmorphia. An eating disorder, no matter how heavy the person is, is life threatening and should be taken seriously.
It really annoys me that there is a BMI guideline for diagnosis of Anorexia. I development Anorexia Nervosa at slightly overweight. No one noticed my disordered thinking. Nobody noticed I pretended to fill my empty cereal bowl with a little drop of milk in the sink to make it look like I’d eaten. Nobody noticed me wrapping my food in napkins at dinner time. Nobody noticed the excessive use of tablets to make me lose weight. Nobody noticed the excessive exercise that caused me to faint. No one noticed the change in the mood, the lack of sleep and always being severely tired, or the unexplained bruises, the constant illnesses and the inability to function everyday. All people noticed was an overweight girl losing weight to fit society’s view of perfection. Everyone was ‘proud’ of me. I suffered for over a year before anyone noticed that I was “losing too much weight”. Even then when my BMI hit underweight, the doctor deemed me as ‘fine’ because I was not yet thin enough….
Eating Disorders do not fit one box. Two people who both have anorexia are NOT the same. Anorexia Nerovsa shares similar characteristics but is NOT the same. The media does not portray a realistic view of eating disorders…
So when someone walks past you in the street and you whisper, “that girl looks anorexic,” please tell me…What does an eating disorder look like anyway?
“I don’t care. Everywhere I go, I seem to break things. And the more I try to fix them, the more I make it worse.”
“Because you cant fix other people until you’ve fixed yourself.”
“But I can’t be fixed because i’m crazy.”
“You’re not crazy. Now I want you to tell me what you don’t like about yourself but be honest with me.”
“I’m fat. I’m ugly. And I ruin things.”
“I want you to imagine the ten year old version of yourself sitting right there on this couch. Now this is the little girl who first believed that she was fat and ugly and an embarrassment. I want you to imagine her sitting there right now. What do you want to say to that little girl? If she said to you thats how she felt about herself, what would you tell her?”
“That she’s fine. That she’s perfect.”
“That’s what you need to tell yourself. You need to tell yourself that everything is going to be okay.”
I came across this reading just now and it absolutely broke me to tears. I’m not feeling great and there are so many things swirling around my mind. These words are just perfect. I’m sorry for not trying.
Somehow the bruises changed my plan. And there’s a silent storm inside me, looking for a home. I hope that someone is going to find me and say that I belong. I’ll wait forever and a lifetime, to find I’m not alone. There’s a silent storm inside me, and someday i’ll be calm.