Image: iStock. By Sophia Hatzis. Warning: This post deals with eating disorders and may contain references that are triggering.
More than one person has said to me “I wish I was anorexic“.
In that moment, I don’t know how to respond. I freeze with fear. A fear that the person who uttered those words will follow the anorexia path. Perhaps they expect that when they’re skinny and in control of their food and their body, they will be content.
“Sometimes, I just wish I was anorexic,” a friend once told me. She laughed after she said these words, as if the thought of developing a fatal mental illness was hilarious.
I was paralysed by anger and disbelief.
I felt like screaming. I wanted to tell them her she had no idea. No idea at all. (Is anorexia genetic? Post continues after video.)
But instead of screaming or crying or hiding away to sit with my feelings, I laughed back. Maybe I laughed because I didn’t know how else to handle it.
I hate the word “anorexia”. To me, it’s a dirty word. It sounds as brutal and unforgiving as the illness is. The ‘x’ slides of the tongue like the hiss of the snake. That word has followed me everywhere and, if I’m being honest, it still does.
I asked my mum once why she thought people said this. She said many women joke about wanting to develop an eating disorder. Why? Because an eating disorder is linked to traits they wish they possessed: self-control, compulsion to exercise, unwavering focus. Of course the end result is what they desire most. Being skinny.
I’m sure most people think that anorexia can be turned on and off like a tap. That as soon as you are ‘thin’ enough, you’ll stop your behaviours and maintain your weight. (Post continues after gallery).