As I was indulging in my daily dose of frozen fruit and a little Cosmo on Monday, I read something that has actually really affected me.
It was an article on a charity raising awareness about the effects of bulimia and anorexia on girls nowadays, and how they are treated medically. My best friend suffered from anorexia three years ago and was almost hospitalized due to her undernourishment, so this is a topic that is really close to my heart. She received therapy for almost two years and was finally discharged as her weight reached what they believed to be ‘safe’. Until recently, I was under the impression that she had completely recovered; she is now at least a size 8 and has been behaving normally again.
This article was about how girls with eating disorders are viewed as attention seeking and are often refused treatment for their disorders because they aren’t at a low enough weight to be considered dangerous; they are told to come back when they are at a lower weight.
In other words, they aren’t anorexic enough!?
A doctor would never turn away a depression patient because their self-harm wasn’t getting worse, or their substance abuse wasn’t at a ‘medically dangerous’ level. Shouldn’t eating disorders be treated exactly the same?
If someone has an unhealthy relationship with food, where their distorted body image results in starving themselves, or throwing up after a huge binge, shouldn’t they be treated in exactly the same way, with exactly the same seriousness, as someone with any other illness?
I don’t know a lot about eating disorders, but it really worries me to know that people are being turned away from receiving life saving medical help, because they are considered as ‘not thin enough’. My best friend has recently started to leave an evident trail of her bulimia around the house and now I’m worried that she’d be turned away for not being thin enough.
To me, anyone who sees themselves as disgusting, or deliberately stops their body from giving it what it needs, is self harming and self abusing; yet they are told they are not abusing enough to deserve any help. Everyone deserves to feel and be beautiful, but if these girls are told that they are not ill enough, isn’t that reinforcing every negative image they have about their body in the first place?
Asking for help is the scariest part of having a mental disorder, and for an anorexic teenage girl, probably the scariest thing she’ll have ever done. Shouldn’t our society see this as a step towards their recovery, and not as a scream for attention?
I don’t know what anyone else feels, but everyone is beautiful, and it breaks my heart to think that not everyone can see that in themselves, because medicine dictates that they don’t deserve to.