Tonight I watched a profoundly disturbing intervention on A&E with a stick-thin woman suffering from anorexia. She is 5’8″ tall, weighs 94 lbs, and eats 800 calories or less a day, and thinks her belly is distended when you can see her bones. They look so sharp and angular that you could use them to cut things.
She is a twin and seeing her on screen in contrast with her healthy sister was particularly hard to watch. It was so obvious to me and my friend watching with me (and 99% of other people) that someone so skeletal looked scary and unhealthy. It was really hard to watch her talk about how she doesn’t deserve to eat, how she has rituals around stretching out the food as long as possible. Her clothes were baggy but they still didn’t disguise her true body shape. Her hair looked awful and her eyes were haunted. Her family was afraid that she would die soon.
Part of me watched in appalled discomfort as she justified her not eating, her appearance, her self control, her right to do what she wanted with her body. Because I know I say some of the same things, only I’m challenged by my obesity, not my anorexia. I’ve had fears that my family would stage an intervention with me — we love you, we need you to live and be healthy, we need you to see that you are killing yourself with food.
I’m afraid that I would not deal with it well. However true it is, there is nothing I haven’t told myself. So instead of allowing myself to be carted off to a treatment center to eat bread and water and have counseling for 90 days, I would probably stuff my face and cry.
The show was sobering and left me with much to think about. I can still see her face.