Last week I was doing some research on recent discoveries or studies done on eating disorders. I came across a website that featured a French woman who has since died from complications with anorexia. She was a model, and there were many beautifully taken photos of her; however, her painfully emaciated body was all that I could focus on. She was literally nothing but flesh and bones, her sharp features made even sharper by her nonexistent body fat. She looked like a skeleton with skin.
The crazy thing was that I felt two conflicting emotions while looking at her photos. On one hand I was repulsed by what I saw because the woman clearly was starving to death, and on the other hand I felt a slight tinge of envy. It got me thinking how messed up my own ideas about anorexia really are. Even though this woman DIED from her disease I still felt that she had achieved something that I could not achieve. It is clear to me that I still glamorize people who are super thin. I still have ideas in my head that if I could stay under a certain body weight I will achieve permanent happiness.
I know this is not true. I have been skin and bones and been more miserable than ever. At the time the only thing I could do was starve myself. I couldn’t get a job, pay a bill, or show up to an appointment. My entire self worth was determined by my ability to control my weight and appearance. I thought if you were disturbed looking at me then you were probably envious at my level of control over food. But I was living in a tiny world by myself. Because I was so obsessed with my body, I could not focus on anyone or anything else.
Knowing that I have an eating disorder has helped me because now I know that I can question previously held ideas about myself. It has also gotten me to a place where I can ask for help and get support from others who suffer as I suffer. Photos of emaciated people are going to live forever on the internet, but with some effort on my part I can choose not to look at them if I know I am triggered by them.