understanding anorexia

i don’t have anorexia but i am intrigued by how close i feel to people who have this experience. there is a way in which i understand the desire to control one’s life to such a high degree. “my body will not tell me when to eat! i am in charge of that!” these words also reveal the split between “my body” and “i” – as if there were two entities. like most people, i find it easy to buy into this duality.

there is also a part of me – the small, wounded child who feels misunderstood and overlooked, perhaps? – who gets the need to influence people and occupy people’s minds by my behaviours, just like the person with severe anorexia often holds their family and friends in thrall.

and i so very much understand the excitement that comes with closing in on perfection! perfection, as we imperfect human beings understand it, is such a shining ideal, such a dazzling idea to strive for. it’s blinding, and there is always something comforting in that kind of emotional blindness.

even the self image that looks so very different to the person with anorexia than a “normal” (??) person is something that makes sense to me. it’s nothing but an exxageration of what happens to most of us anyway – who can really see reality? who has the eyes, who has the guts? who has the guts to look upon themselves with true love? it’s much easier to form some idea of oneself and then to only see that idea when we look into the mirror.

and i get the disdain that some people with anorexia experience towards people who eat “normally”. in their eyes, they are striving for perfection, whereas people who eat normally or people who eat too much are just letting themselves go to seed. feeling superior is something in which we all engage.

anorexia comes at a very high price. it can mean death, it can mean serious health problems. sometimes the experience of being human is so challenging that paying that price appears worth while.

i understand that, too.

however, i don’t agree that this price need be paid. i believe that there are softer, easier, more joyful, happy and free ways to live one’s life according to one’s own script; to interact between body and mind; to live with those around us; to strive for ideals; and that there is enjoyment in going through life with our eyes open and looking reality square in the eye. and i don’t believe in sacrifice – in sacrificing our body or anything else. sacrifices are made to wrathful gods; if you have a wrathful god, i say, fire him!

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver
www.moritherapy.com

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