The truth about anorexia
6th May 2015
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Anorexia is when people stop eating to be skinny, right? That’s certainly what I believed: when my ballet teacher warned me not to lose any more weight I laughed at her and reassured her I would never be anorexic because “I LOVE food”. I mean anorexics consciously decided to do this to their body; they chose to starve themselves in a ridiculous fashion, right? Wrong. Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness. It is a disease. Saying someone chooses to be anorexic is the same as saying someone choses to suffer from cancer. The death rates aren’t that far off – one in five sufferers die from anorexia. 20%. I have come to learn in the most horrible way the truth behind this illness, and how very wrong I was. This uninformed view of Anorexia nervosa, that I once shared, has been so widely accepted that I came across a post on Instagram where a girl declared she was going to ‘try out anorexia’, as if it were a trend. I will state this clearly and simply; it is an ILLNESS. There is a huge difference between someone going on a crash diet and someone suffering from the mental torture of an eating disorder. Firstly those who suffer from them certainly don’t want to, there was a trend in the recovery community a little while back called the ‘f*** you ana/ed selfie’ where people post a picture of themselves gesturing to the camera and caption it with a number of things that they hate their eating disorder for – for example ruining their education and friendships. Sufferers HATE their eating disorders and are in constant battles trying to fight it. Everyone understands that someone doesn’t become an alcoholic because of their love of alcohol, it is clearly because of underlying problems, yet people perceive anorexia as due to people’s love of being skinny? Anorexia develops from genetic, social and psychological triggers; most sufferers have similar personality traits: Low self-esteem, perfectionism, stubbornness. Also most will also suffer from other mental disorders such as anxiety and depression; anorexia rarely acts alone.
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