Dying to be Thin

27 03 2010

Alex asked me to write a paper for him on the documentary, Dying to be Thin. This is what I gave him. . . . . .I just watched this, and I’d highly recommend it.
Dying to be Thin was a wonderful resource, well researched, and very well laid-out. Starting with an overview of anorexia, it touched upon the most likely populations of girls to develop anorexia, and then it related it back to girls who aren’t dancers or gymnasts. It showed the girls touched by trauma, divorce, and perfectionism, and not merely the professionally skinny. Not to say that models or dancers have a struggle any less severe than any other anorexics, but that that’s an expected population in which to find an eating disorder. It’s the emotional basis that is less understood, as opposed to the all-consuming struggle to lose weight for one’s job, for fame, or for money.

I found it interesting when they cited the fact that “more than 50% of patients relapse within one year”. That honestly makes sense, especially if one takes into account patients who are forced into treatment against their will, or patients who weren’t able to reach a “normal” body weight. Starvation brings about very rigid thinking, and patients who are unable to begin to explore the seemingly “normal” thought patterns that come with a “normal” weight while in treatment would be doomed, it would appear, to relapse. Something that made a ton of sense was their theme of anorexics being very “quiet, sweet, and kind” about the whole matter. Anorexia is the slowest form of suicide, and the ultimate in passive aggression. While smiling to their (coaches, abusers, parents, educators, peers) faces, they can be slowly stabbing in the back, and never needing to admit a thing. Unconsciously or consciously, the sense of power can be exhilarating.

At first, it didn’t appear that they were going to touch on bulimia, but once they got to it, they really got to it, and covered it well. For bulimia being such an un-understood disease, this documentary did a wonderful job with it. I had no idea that it had only been recognized since 1989. . . . . . I figured it had just kinda always been around. Seeming as it carries a significant amount of stigma and shame, it makes sense that it was a bit of a “taboo” topic. I found myself nodding and being like, “Yeah, you nailed that point. . . . .nailed that one, too. . . . . “ The biggest connection was the sense of numbness and being somewhat “strung out, as if on drugs”. There is this spacey high that comes with binging and purging that nothing else, not even drugs, can bring. I also connected with the “lack of satiety” point. When I’m binging, I can easily eat 15 pounds of food, and it all hit me at once. When eating “normal” amounts, I feel driven to eat seconds or thirds, because my body just isn’t happy. I don’t feel the food; I don’t feel satisfied. Conversely, though, being full or knowing that there’s something in my stomach brings extreme anxiety (which is improving, btw). It’s a vicious cycle, needing to be full, and being unable to be full.

All in all, this was a very helpful and information packed resource. It gave a lot of hope hearing from several different recovered anorexics, and hearing from a bulimic who was working very hard that life does get better, and that it is well worth the fight. All the time, people tell me, “It’s worth the fight! Keep it up! Life is so much better!” and my first response wants to be, “How do you know? You don’t have an eating disorder.” It was great to hear it from people who had the grit and determination to work through the battle.



2 responses

28 03 2010
Angel (GV)

When ever I feel the need to conect to people with the same issues as me, I put on “Dying to be Thin”. It always makes me think about how great recovery will be once I can finally say I’m there. I love that you connected with it as well. Keep up the good work hun, you are amazing!

29 03 2010

It does promote a “Hah! People CAN do this!” feeling . . . . .

Your support is great! Thank you so much . . . .

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