Sometimes I really do think I live in a bubble.
Though I don’t fit the description, I didn’t know what ED-NOS is (eating disorder, not otherwise specified) until this past weekend.
And I had never heard of “pro-ana” or “pro-mia” sites until I met MamaV at Panera on Sunday at the Chicago blogger meet-and-greet.
But a quick Wikipedia search led me to a wealth of knowledge about this incredibly disturbing and sad trend among young women.
MamaV is on a mission “to educate parents, friends, and family on the rampant nature of the Pro-Anorexia community online.” She wrote this guest post last summer, called “Anorexia and and Internet Suicide.”
Please, just read it and let me know what you think.
I am not going to say anything more; MamaV’s post needs no words. (You can also check out her videos on YouTube — she’s doing great things out there!).
So between that post and the journal of Kristi (the pro-ana woman who took her life) that’s linked on the guest blog, I was near-tears here.
I was deeply saddened for two reasons.
One, things have never been that bad for me that I’d ever even contemplate suicide. Of course I understand there are multitude of emotional, physical and psychological reasons that could drive someone down that path … but it’s just inconceivable to me.
And two, there are millions of women out who, for many reasons (perhaps unknown to even them) starve themselves down to nothing; “killing themselves” even though they are alive, a shell of themselves. Some live a life of binging and purging. Some are painfully thin, others hide it well and even others — on the outset — might even look healthy, but their insides are a mess.
This is how they stay “in control.”
That makes me so very sad.
I love food, and even though sometimes I still treat it like an enemy and journal what I eat, I simply can’t fathom what it would be like to deprive myself of the wonderful pleasures of food, of dining out, of savoring life. Likewise, I can’t imagine eating only to throw it up; it’s just not part of my DNA to think that way.
Reading some of Kristi’s entries and the subsequent comments literally just broke my heart, to know that people really have these thoughts and feel that alone, with nowhere to turn.
I realized just how lucky I am. I have an amazing support system around me in my husband, family, and friends.
And though I might battle anxiety issues forever, I really feel like I caught on to my problem in the knick of time before it exploded … that I’ve been making a lot of progress between therapy and blogotherapy.
I’m not being naïve about this; I don’t claim to be cured, or perfect, and that’s not what I’m striving for here. (In fact, I’m erasing “perfection” from my vocabulary).
But I do want to be the best version of myself, and that is someone who loves her body, respects her body, and treats herself with the same love and care she offers to others.
That said, I often get personal e-mails from young men and women who are in need of help, and I’m the first to admit in our correspondances that I’m not qualified to give counsel. I feel bad saying so, but it’s the truth. I’d be lying if I said otherwise; it’d be the blind leading the blind.
I’m not “finished” yet … and might never truly be “done.” So I usually suggest them talking to someone they trust and seeking professional help.
Which raises the point that I think my blog would serve my readers better if there was a place for you to go, a resource well where you could find information about managing disordered eating issues and eating disorders, and hopefully, someday, overcoming them.
So starting today, there will be a new HELP tab on my home page, and I hope that anyone who needs it will find it useful. I also hope anyone questioning themselves will seek a trusted confidante and the help of a professional who is trained to deal with such challenges.
You’re worth it!
Thank you all for reading and inspiring me every day with your comments and input. I have hope and faith that together, we can create a positive environment for healing and progress.
The world has too many conflicted women like Kristi who think they aren’t worthy of staying alive. We can make a difference.
To quote the United Way’s LIVE UNITED campaign theme: “When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.”
How about you? What thoughts went through your mind reading MamaV’s blog or Kristi’s journal?