Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anorexia Lite*

*I swear, I just now realized that this is a pun.

I've noticed a self-deprecating trend in the way some people talk or write about their eating disorder(s). "Well, I didn't really have anorexia," they'll say, and then describe highly restrictive eating, self-loathing, or exercise habits that are clearly disordered. I did the same thing. Because I never actually stopped eating - and believe me, I tried - and I never dropped below 100 pounds, I talked about my disorder as "anorexia lite." I could point out so many others who were "better" at their eating disorder - the stuff of afternoon talk-shows and "Scary Skinny!!!" tabloid headlines.

This mindset, unfortunately, made me more resistant to therapy. I wasn't so bad off, right? So why did I have to gain weight? I wasn't passing out, I wasn't losing my hair (yet). As I told everyone, I was FINE.

People who don't have experience with ED - either their own or someone else's - often don't understand that ED patients can be a competitive bunch. It's both an excuse and a motivation. I devoured (ha) articles about ED - both to show my mother that I was fine, really, and also in the hopes of learning a new trick or two.

It's not easy to understand - I don't get it myself. But it's something to keep in mind if you're concerned about someone. And if you're the one trying to convince everyone you're fine ... it's possible that you might not be.

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