We have had some healthy debates since the loss of Kristi and the Internet Suicide post. I wanted to thank you all for your heartfelt, pissed off, sometimes angry, sometimes sad comments – I can not thank you enough.
Here is what I have learned about the Pro-Anorexia community, thanks to you.
With that said, I think we need to separate eating disorder sufferers into groups – they are vast and different. We all tend to relate back to our own experiences and this can really limit our perspective. I see the differentiation as follows:
1 Anorexia/Bulimia is a brain disease.
Food and control go hand in hand. The control gained by restricting food intake is done in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.
Studies show that in some individuals with eating disorders, certain brain chemicals that control hunger, appetite, and digestion are imbalanced. The exact meaning and implications of these imbalances remains under investigation.
Eating disorders often run in families. Current research is indicates that there are significant genetic contributions to eating disorders.
2 Anorexia/Bulimia is a media disease.
Women of today look to models and hollywood for their standard of beauty, thinspiration images fill their heads, and send these individuals on a quest to “be anorexic.”
One does not need to try to be anorexic if they fall into category #1 above. When your eating disorder stems from brain chemicals or genetics, your goal is to try NOT to be anorexic.
In the case of the anorexic wanna-be’s it seems the desire to be thin starts innocently enough but overtime evolves into something more complicated-something I equate to brainwashing.
You know what really scares me? This group seems to dominate the Pro-Anorexia sites and YouTube. Their influence can not be underestimated. Day after day I receive messages from women stating they are drawn to their Thinspiration videos and images even though they know how detrimental they are to their recovery.
3 Anorexia/Bulimia is a family disease.
Not don’t freak out here, I am not pulling the ole’ Giselle theory on you.
By saying “family” I mean to say that many girls can point back to a specific incident or one comment made by a family member and/or friend that seemed to immediately trigger their dieting, which evolved to restricting, purging, exercising and ultimately anorexia.
A grandpa that called you fat.
A sister that compared her thighs to yours.
A mom that dieted incessantly.
A father that spoke of women being fat.
Sound familiar? All too familiar, I hear these stories daily.
It is these types of comments that take us from here:
4 Anorexia/Bulimia is a combination of all of the above.
To confuse things more, many of us likely see parts of our disorder in 1, 2, and 3. So how to make sense of it all? I am not sure we need to. Instead focus on indentifying where your disorder stems from, and seek help. Professional help, perhaps supplemented by online forms of support. I do understand the insurance related issues many of you face, but please reach out to NEDA to see if there are free or discounted forms of treatment available.
Which brings me to my final thought for the day.
Pro-Anorexia groups are receiving a bad rap…time for a name change. You need to re-invent yourselves into something that is not an immediate RED FLAG to every parent out there, not to mention the media who loves to jump all over you.
Those of you who a receiving support from the Pro-Anorexia sites, namely the Live Journal friends who have posted here, what to you think of differentiating yourself from the pack? I really think this is essential. There is a site called WeBiteBack which may interest you. They call their group post-pro-anorexia.
Check it out and let me know your thoughts,
(a.k.a. mamaV as I have come to be known by some. So hip.).
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