Having an eating disorder is unfortunately an all too common condition in this world. I am not sure what it is that causes the brain to get all messed up about body image, but I do know that it never goes away. I often wonder what it would be like to eat "normally", to not to have to worry about stuffing a whole box of chocolates in your face. I have come to terms with my own condition, and most of the time I do OK, but it will always be a concern and an effort to stay healthy. Then again, since I am hyper vigilant to others eating habits, I do see that no one really eats "normally" and the best I can hope for is to stay on a healthy path and not spend too much of my life stressing about body image.
Nicole Johns has written an excellent book on her experiences with her eating disorder and her experience in a treatment facility. In some ways it is quite similar to "Girl Interrupted" but I mean that as a compliment as I also enjoyed that book quite a lot. Johns tells us every detail about her time in the facility and intermixed into the text are copies of actual treatment documents and the facility's own literature. Johns tells us how hard it is to adjust to eating three meals a day plus snacks when one is used to either restricting or purging and not eating normally. She does relate that eventually she purged anyway, and some find a way to hide or throw away the food to avoid eating.
All together we are left with a bit of hope, as Johns seems to have made the most of her situation and is in recovery, but of course there are no happy endings for many suffers of this condition. Reading things like this helps to remember that eating disorders are a sort of slow suicide. Life is too precious to waste and there is always hope for the future. We have to all hold on to our happiness wherever we can find it and try not to let the negative voices in our heads win.
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