I will start off with a confession. When I was over 200 pounds I would’ve done just about anything to be thin. But part of me was afraid to lose weight. So I didn’t try that hard.
My twin sister started to exhibit symptoms of an Eating Disorder in her Junior/Senior year of High School. It didn’t become dangerous until College. She constantly said she was “fat” when she wasn’t. She only ate white rice with vinegar on it. In college she began to black out in a few of her classes. She had gotten to the point where you could see her hip bones, her collar bone stuck out, depending on what she was wearing you could see her ribs. She was pale all the time and her eyes were sunk in.
She wouldn’t listen to anyone. It wasn’t until she was dating her future husband, who also had an eating disorder, that they made a pact to keep each other healthy. If that hadn’t happened I don’t think she would’ve gotten better.
I’ve been having problems with Medicare and a few of my Doctors. I had to download my records. What I found there bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I repeatedly saw a diagnosis for Anorexia. I couldn’t understand why or why no one discussed it with me.
ANOREXIA NERVOSA~ Self starvation leading to excessive weight loss.
- Inadequate food intake
- Extreme fear of weight gain
- Obsession with weight gain
- Self-esteem related to body image
- Person can’t see the seriousness of the situation
- Food restriction
- Refusal to eat specific foods
- Frequent comments about feeling “fat”
- Denial of hunger
- Food rituals
- Avoidance of mealtime situations with friends or family
- Excessive exercise
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Slow heart rate, low blood pressure
- Risk of heart failure due to lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscle loss or wasting
- Severe dehydration causing kidney failure
- Fainting or Fatigue
- Dry hair, skin, and nails
- Hair loss
The longer the illness continues the chance of death increases. Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any Psychiatric Condition but receives the least amount of Funding for Research. Early detection is key.
The other important thing is to make sure your Doctors are not assuming you are Anorexic based on your symptoms or tests.
I have a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, Osteoporosis, Muscle wasting, dehydration, hair loss, dry hair, skin and nails. I rarely “feel” hunger or thirst. There are scientific reasons for this. If these doctors had consulted with my Hematologist they would’ve had their answers instead of putting a label on me as soon as they saw the weight loss and other symptoms.
I have Autoimmune Diseases that cause all of the above. The part of my brain that triggers the need to drink is not working, the same for hunger. I have to set alarms and force myself. Once I start I’m fine. I have the same type of muscle wasting that happens to patients with HIV/AIDS, it’s a different type and cause of muscle wasting having to do with my Immune System. When your Kidneys start to fail, you lose weight fast. Instead of assuming I was Anorexic they may have researched harder and saved me a Kidney.
This brings me to a subject I can’t comprehend. Encouraging others in their illness. Blogs, Twitter accounts, Instagram, all kinds of Social Media promoting Anorexia/Eating Disorders to be “Thin”.
Examples: “Thin is In”, “Thin Me Pretty”, “Feeling for Bone”, “Thin as a Twig”, I find all of it appalling. I mention Eugenics and Twitter flags me but it’s ok to inspire others to basically kill themselves by starvation because their ideal look is the Olsen twins. (They showed up the most on these accounts)
When asked, over 60% of people with eating disorders said that Celebrities, Models, and Social Media played a large part in how they thought they should look. It’s hard to change something associated with “beauty” or the public’s idea of what should be “beautiful”. Believe me I know all too well. I’ve been on both sides of the scale and you will never please everyone so stop trying and worry about yourself.