Educate Yourself: Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder and, despite popular belief, a mental illness. In the past few years, a negative stigma has developed and surrounded such problems, as is with common with most mental illnesses such as depression and the association that self-harm has with eating disorders.

Despite the aforementioned illnesses gradually becoming acknowledged within society, it is evident that the masses are still uneducated about Anorexia specifically and how the illness starts, develops, and indeed consumes the lives of those around the world that suffer from it.

Following a previous post on things not to wear for halloween, in which a costume named ‘Anna Rexia’ was critiqued for mocking eating disorders, and in particular Anorexia Nervosa, the ignorance that is seemingly synonymous with such illnesses has shown no signs of lapsing.

This is just one of the many examples of how the illness is considered as a joking matter. Anorexia sufferers have been labelled as ‘choosing to have the illness’ which has been disproven through years of research.

Some of the symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa include

  • Very little food consumption
  • Purging
  • Binge eating
  • Over exercising

There are many different ways of trying to explain how Anorexia affects the sufferer’s day to day life.

‘My friend Ana’, a short film created by Laura Turek, shows the life of a girl living with Anorexia. Turek explained on the website dedicated to the short film how she was inspired to make it.

”Not long ago, while researching on the Internet, I stumbled upon a terrifying website.

Photos of naked and semi-naked young women whose ribs and pelvic bones stuck out and whose arms and legs were nothing more than bone and sinews filled the screen.”

”Further research quickly revealed that this was just one of hundreds of pro-ana (anorexia) websites, part of a recent phenomenon to help trigger likeminded “weborexics” with “thinspiration”.

”These young women discuss openly how to survive on 200 calories a day, how to deal with the hunger pains and loss of menstruation and how to lie to parents, teachers and friends who might become suspicious and try to “butt in” on their plans for thinness.”

Another article highlighting similar issues is by a well-known social media figure called Felice Fawn, who has suffered from Anorexia for a number of years and is currently still undergoing treatment.

Her personal post, which was published on her Tumblr 3 months ago explains her personal struggles with the disorder and a metaphorical interpretation of what it is like to have Anorexia.

”I want you to imagine that you’re standing at the top of a cliff. You’re alone, you’re terrified, and all you want to do is turn around, walk away, and be as far away from a situation that makes you feel so scared and vulnerable.”

”However, there is a crowd of people behind you, a mixture of your friends, family, medical professionals and complete strangers. The people you know who care about you are trying to encourage you to jump. “No harm will come to you! If you jump, once it is over you will be safe!

”You want to trust in those you love and do it, but you begin to become frustrated and angry, “Why don’t they just let me do what I want and turn around? Why do the people who supposedly love me want to force me to do this? Why can’t everyone just leave me alone? Why are they doing this to me?

”Now imagine that cliff is a plate of food, and instead of people telling you to jump, they are telling you to eat. These are the kind of feelings someone struggling with Anorexia face every day”

For the full article click here.

With Felice’s ever-increasing amount of followers on Tumblr and Twitter in the last few years, more and more users of these sites are becoming aware of what Anorexia actually is.

With the majority of her followers being young girls showing admiration for Felice’s beauty, it is refreshing to see that her talents as a freelance model, retoucher and photographer are also aiding her ability to explain the illness, rather than promoting it as ‘thinspiration’ sites do.

For more information please visit

http://www.b-eat.co.uk

http://www.something-fishy.org

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anorexia-nervosa/Pages/symptoms.aspx

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Claire Stapley

Creator of helpimastudent.com

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