There’s a new fiction book out about a teenage girl’s descent into anorexia called Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Apparently it’s causing quite the stir, even though it hasn’t become as popular as other “thinspiration” or “pro-ana” books might be; perhaps it’s too new?
All the same, the general concern in the eating disorder recovery field is that books like these could encourage certain teens to engage in disordered eating behavior, particularly those already predispositioned for perfectionist tendencies.
Some feel books like this — though raw and brutal and unpleasant — end up glorifying EDs for some teens, plunging them headfirst into a world of disordered eating to lose weight, or look better, etc.
Sometimes I feel like I have two personalities, even on my blog.
On the one hand, I started this blog to overcome disordered eating issues that arose after successful weight loss the healthy way (eating less, moving more)… And on the other hand, I’m trying to lose some weight I’ve gained, while keep my disordered eating behaviors in check. You can see how this could easily be viewed as having split personas.
I blog about both parts of my persona because they are related to one another, and because they feed off one another, for better or for worse.
Fortunately, I’ve been doing really well re: said disordered eating behaviors — no midnight eating, no chewing and spitting, and no emotional eating –especially since journaling on Sparkpeople. It’s like something clicked last week, and I know it’s not necessarily a permanent click, but in the meantime, it feels darn good.
But after reading a recent blog post by a favorite blogger of mine, it hit me that sometimes it seems with even the best of intentions, for every one step forward we as individuals might take, our society ends up a step back.
I had an epiphany after watching THIN for the second time, this time with my husband.
Needless to say, he was very, very disturbed by the movie. I’ll be honest, part of why I wanted him to see it was to show him, “Yes I am still struggling, but look, I’m not as extreme as these girls.”
But my husband is incredibly bright, and he knows me so well that it’s scary. While he agrees that I’m not as extreme as those girls, he picked up on some of the things the girls did — their behaviors — that mirrored mine.
To name a few … changing clothes 3 million times (guilty since age 7?), staring at myself in the mirror and prodding (totally a weight loss result — the obsession), chewing-and-spitting (my formerly shameful secret; now I just relapse from time to time), picking apart their food (guilty!), obsessing over weight gain, real or imagined (I try not to, but sometimes find myself doing it) ordering specifically (though that’s nothing new really; I’ve been a picky eater for as long as I can recall); ordering “diety.” (I’ve gotten better with this one).
And I wonder if subconsciously, I wanted him to point these things out in the film. Because they’re all things he’s been concerned about for me for years now; things he’s tried to talk me out of and things that, especially in the beginning, I shrugged off (“I’m not obsessing!”.)
Like many of us, I have a Facebook account, and use it to keep in touch with friends and family. Three weeks ago, I (boldly) included my blog on my profile, with the knowledge that anyone could take a look — part of my desire to live authentically.
Having just read Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and having just met MamaV, who works to raise awareness about these online communities, I was particularly intrigued at what is happening in the social media sphere.
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.”