Yesterday marked the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and in this entire week, I was anticipating the arrival of my March issue of Glamour. I read the magazine from cover to cover, but no mention of any events or editor’s letters, no inquires by readers or articles concerning EDs. In the newspapers my grandfather grabs in the mornings and leaves for me on the kitchen table – no mention of ED awareness. There were, however, plenty of ads for weight loss pills, calorie-reduced foods, artificial sweeteners… all the while skinny, “perfect” models smiled at me from the pages. It’s all so appalling – the media contradictions and turn a blind eye attitude gets worse and worse every year.
Someone very close to me (whom I won’t name to protect their privacy) had an eating disorder as a teenager, and from what I could recall, it just about nearly tore the family apart. I remember visiting her in the hospital, noting how thin and frail she looked. She would look in the mirror and see someone obese – everyone else looking at her saw a young lady in need of serious help.
Those who suffer from an ED develop this chronic illness over time, and despite the dangers, often do not seek help until its gotten so bad that their loved ones must intervene. I think eating disorders are a pandemic in this society. The data and statistics are out there in the open for everyone to see. You can only hide an unnourished body and gaunt, exhausted face for so long. Yet, despite all this, despite women and men dying and disabled, insurance companies often refuse to cover treatment costs. Families may not be supportive. There’s no magic pill to make you all better. Breaking through an ED takes time, patience, energy, and a lot of money and determination. No matter how bad you want to get out of this disorder, when you don’t have the proper support in place, the whole process towards recovery may look too far away, too bleak and too hopeless.
There’s only so much that can be done now until the mentality of our society changes. I wish it will change soon. Hopefully my wish, and the wishes of so many ED awareness advocates, ED afflicted families and ED victims, becomes a reality.
Until then, keep your head held high, kid. You are beautiful and loved.