I have to share this with you as I am always left asking “why” when I see someone who may be suffering from anorexia. I know that not all extremely skinny people suffer from an eating disorder, but so many do.
I walk on a lovely trail most days with Tess. Right now it is pretty dam hot out, but we still go in the early mornings. Often on our walks we see this “very,very skinny” lady walking along as well. She often is carrying and reading a book as she walks, and ever so quickly greets us as she passes, barely looking our way.
My heart breaks when I see her and I ask myself ” why” does she look like that. This lady is probably five foot nine or ten and must weigh about a hundred pounds. Her limbs are so thin that they look like skinny tree branches with patches of bruises all over. She often wears shorts and a sleeveless shirt which tells me she has an attitude about how she looks. I am just not sure she is seeing what I am seeing. They usually don’t.
I know all about anorexia. We studied it extensively while I was in nursing school, but it is always a shocker to see someone in the throes of this disease. They are in denial. They don’t see what we see, and they suffer their whole lives with their obsession of food and their bodies. Here is one definition from one of many web sites online.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological and possibly life-threatening eating disorder defined by an extremely low body weight relative to stature (this is called BMI [Body Mass Index] and is a function of an individual’s height and weight), extreme and needless weight loss, illogical fear of weight gain, and distorted perception of self-image and body.
Additionally, women and men who suffer from anorexia nervosa exemplify a fixation with a thin figure and abnormal eating patterns. Anorexia nervosa is interchangeable with the term anorexia, which refers to self-starvation and lack of appetite.
I hope you noticed that it is men as well as women that suffer from this horrible disease. There are so many contributing factors that influence this disorder that we can’t say it is just one thing when doing battle against anorexia. It is so many things.
I just can’t grasp how someone can starve themselves, not see how awful they look, and hang on to these delusions, sometimes to the point of death. Food is something to nourish our bodies. It is something to enjoy, it is something to share with others. It should not be something that destroys our lives. Although it does in the form of anorexia, and obesity.
We are a world obsessed with how we look. We are obsessed with beauty to the point that we carve up our bodies to ” enhance” our appearance, and we are a world of food addicts and obsessors who do grievous harm to ourselves in the name of “beauty.”
“WHY” Is it Hollywood, is it the media, is it television, is it in the pages of magazines, is it in our own nature? Yes to all of this. As I said this disease has many influences, and that is what makes it so very hard to treat, and to conquer.
I am sorry for this lady that walks along my trail. Her face looks like a skeleton covered with flesh. She is a bit older so she does have some hanging jowls on her bones. I would never let her know that or she might take a knife to these as well. She has a pixie face, but from a horror movie, not a cute kids show.
I am sure she has suffered her whole life. She is lucky she is still alive if that is the case as many die from heart or organ failure. She must just be managing it.
I will say I want to comfort her, I want to assure her that her starvation is not necessary, if that is the case, and I want to tell her that her life is more important then her appearance. I am sure at this point guessing her age, that she has already developed her sustaining delusions which I would never be able to crush. The anorexic never believes others in regard to their appearance, even when you give them the hard copies from their charts. They think you are making it up, falsifying the paperwork, trying to manipulate, and trying to control them.
” They” are the ones in control. Many lose friends and distance themselves from their families, if they make it into adulthood, as their loved ones can not take nor understand their distorted perceptions of themselves.
It is a horrible disease. My heart bleeds for anyone who suffers from this or any such disorder that puts you in the throes of self destruction. If you have children don’t make eating or body size an issue. Feed them healthy foods when they are young, teach them good habits, set good examples, remember they copy us, and get them out and moving everyday. Put away the electronics and games and have some fun together. Just make life good for them, and for you.
There is a commercial that has been replaying on television that I remember from long ago. It talks about how things have gotten easier for our kids. The main character of this commercial is an overweight young boy. He sits playing games inside. He uses an electronic garage door opener. He sits in a lawn chair while blowing leaves about the yard with a leaf blower. And, when he gets inside he calls his grandmother, an aged older women,on the phone from his seat at the television. She is in another room, and asks her to bring him another grape pop.
The commercial use to make me laugh but the reality of it is sad. In many cases it is true. WE have become a lazy society who don’t always remember how to be active. We have so many electronic devices that we never need to get up and move. I always hated that my dad would holler at us to come change the television channel on our tv because when I was a kid we didn’t have a controller.
There are so many out there who suffer from eating disorders whether it is too much or too little that they consume. In a world of plenty many are starving. That should never happen. If only we could send those people with eating disorders to help those in places where they don’t get enough, it might help the both of them.
My solution is to do good by your children, be a positive influence to all those in need, and give of your time, and money if you find a cause that you trust. No child or adult should go hungry, ever.
I hope this lady has a good life at home. I am sure if she suffers from anorexia, she doesn’t. I bet her every minute is consumed with food, exercise, and her body. I would bet that she lives alone, and sees very few people. That is my impression. I hope it is wrong.
Take care of you, take care of your loved ones, and share a bite with a friend. I hope you have a great and happy day today.