February 6-12 is Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
We speak blithely of addiction nowadays. “I’m totally addicted to shoes!” “I’m so addicted to that band”.
TV holds up, for our rubbernecking pleasure, hoarders, alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, porn junkies, shows about obsessive compulsive disorder, the heavily tattooed, love addicts and women competing for plastic surgery.
We have glamourized dysfunction to such a degree that being the average bear is no longer average and certainly not desirable. We have externally sexualized our society to the point that we no longer know who we are or who we would like to be; except as it relates to some unachievable standard that is drug induced or air brushed beyond reality or recognition.
Our self worth, for both men and women has become so reliant upon the physical that we literally turn on in ourselves and develop eating disorders. Bulimia, anorexia nervosa, binging purging and starving are all part of this hidden obsession with gaining and losing control either to numb out the feelings or to actually feel something intensely. At least when an animal becomes dysfunctional, turning against natural healthy instincts due to trauma, you can put a cone around its neck; but that is not a good look for us when going clubbing or to a family function. It would certainly turn heads in the boardroom.
Eating disorders don’t begin at drinking age or when we have our first joint. We don’t tell an alcoholic to have a moderate amount of booze. We don’t ask heroin addicts to only take half a hit.
We can turn on the TV and watch dozens of shows on weight loss. We see celebrities on whom we can count ribs on the upper chest. You can go online and watch a woman eat herself to death. We have clothes that come in a size zero. As if we needed another way to define ourselves as “nothing”. When did becoming the biggest loser become a good thing? We have oxy-moroned ourselves into a society that has no idea what the differences are between positive and negative words. It is no wonder that we don’t know how to function within these mixed messages.
How does a woman have a great booty while being a size 0? How does a 15 year old boy understand that his “peer” on TV is actually 22, has a personal dietician and trainer and they’ve air brushed his abs. How does a curvy young woman love her curves when she sees nothing but Barbie sized surgically enhanced anomalies in magazines and on TV?
They confusedly binge and purge and starve themselves into a state of self loathing that often leads to complete social isolation to hide it, if not organ failure and death.
Eating disorders are some of the most frequently hidden, and difficult mental illnesses and/or addictions to overcome. We can’t give up food by going cold turkey now can we?