Today, I was thinking a lot about mental illnesses. And something crossed my mind for the first time.
If my Ana, and my cousin’s Ana, and Julia Grigorian’s Ana, let’s say, we’re all places in a room together, what they talk about? What would they have in common, and what would they disagree about?
I came to a few conclusions in thinking about this.
Firstly, I think they would plot how to best make us all miserable while convincing us that they like us and what what’s best for us. I think that’s definitely something all eds have in common.
Secondly, I think the eating disorders would agree that they hate feeling out of control. They stress and go on high alert when there is any stress or focus outside of them.
They would certainly agree that a smaller body is a better body, that the idea of gaining weight is terrifying, and that food is the enemy.
But what I think is crucial here is what these “people” would DISAGREE on– even, I think, fight about.
And that is… the food.
While for one Ana carbs may be the enemy, another may say it is the only macro they will consume. While some have rituals such as chopping food into tiny little pieces and eating as slowly as possible, others eat as quickly as possible. Some anas avoid liquids like the plague while others only consume liquids.
Some eds use the body as a focal point; some zero in on the stomach, while others on the thighs, and others on the arms.
My point here is to illustrate more clearly the misinterpretation that eating disorders are about the body and food. These eds would talk about these things and disagree and yell at each other and never come to an agreement. It would be quite scary for one ed patient to adopt another person’s ed rules.
Not only does this show that eating disorders cause a side effect of food focus and body criticism CAUSED by other stress, but it may help ed patients to reflect on just how trivial and stupid their disorders’ rules are.
Also, it made me realize how terrifying it would be to walk into a room full of Anas.
I’d want to kill them, but I think one of them might nudge me to a seat, and I might just end up sitting down with them to coffee with splenda with a fake smile on my face.