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Jun 14 2012

“An open letter to the woman who said I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder.”

[Trigger warning for people with eating disorders, obviously.]

Kate Donovan, who ordinarily blogs at a few different places around the intertubes, has written an open letter to someone she really cares about, who dismissed her very real anorexia as “playing victim”.

You saw me this summer, back home for the worst summer I’ve had. I have gone off therapy for these three months, because you see, my parents don’t use modern medicine, and I cannot trust them to care for me. I am dependent on the kindness of my university to have treatment in the first place. This summer, all I have are friends, and my own will to do anything to keep from slipping back into a hell of calorie counting and obsessive thoughts and the nightmare of reflective surfaces. I used to hate myself, you know. It still creeps up on me and strangles and pulls at loose skin, until all I can do is hold off from screaming and curl up in bed.

You don’t know this. I would have told you, had you asked. I speak about my cesspit of destructive behavior, because you can’t tell when you look at me. That is true of most eating disorders, and someone has to talk about it. I will be that person.

Read the rest here. Very poignant. Very worth reading.

And I put this under Privilege for my categories because, frankly, the woman dismissing Kate out of hand has obviously not experienced the evidently drastically life-altering disorder.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Rabidtreeweasel

    THIS. I was anorexic in my formative years, and as is common I later developed bulimia. As an adult, I now have trouble with my hormone levels (PROS) and cortizal levels. In an act of dramatic irony, my eating disorders lead to me actually becoming over weight. Since I eat small healthy meals and exercise regularly it’s become clear that this is a deformation I must come to terms with and live with. It is incredibly frustrating to hear people who don’t have weight control issues blame the problems of others on their food intake and nit pick people’s habits. Your right to call it an issue of privilege. Every time eating disorders arelead discussed the self appointed gurus of How Should Eat to Gain an Appearance Which I Find Pleasing come crawling out of the wood work. It’s exhausting and depressing but it can sure be fun to give them all the gory details of my condition. Kind of like explaining my menstrual cycle to Republicans.

  2. 2
    Rabidtreeweasel

    Stupid phone. PCOS. Not PROS.

  3. 3
    carlie

    And it can last a lifetime. One of my good friends has battled her mother’s anorexia for decades, trying to keep her mom eating something, anything, through the really bad bouts. Her mom is in her 80s and in the midst of another downturn; at that age, it takes very little food restriction to send one into a health tailspin that it’s almost impossible to get out of.

  4. 4
    Robert B.

    For categorizing neurotypicality as a type of privilege: Yes, that is correct. Please continue.

  5. 5
    A nym too

    Treeweasel- same here. Was anorexic with binge/purge and compulsive exercising when I first had PCOS. My doctor told me she wished that was true because then I wouldn’t look so disgusting.

    She threatened to have me committed, not for the ED, for my “compulsive lying”.

    Love, and hugs, and solidarity to you. So much fun maintaining
    an obese body on <500 a day. Weight loss is impossible, because I have a Neuro condition that leaves me virtually immobile.

    You're not alone.

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