This blog post is a somewhat personal to me, because I've had a friend in high school that had an eating disorder. My friend had anorexia, but was extremely embarrassed by it, and didn't tell anyone (I feel as if keeping anorexia private is common). I remember her being normal-sized in middle school; she wasn't fat, but she wasn't skinny either. Just normal (or what most people define as normal anyway). I also remember that she was very self-conscious about how her clothes fit on her, how she wore her hair, the way she walked, etc. I never really took any of that into consideration though...and I wished I would have.
One day in high school, my friend and I were standing around talking to a group of people before class started. I remember someone saying "Wow, you have lost a lot of weight. How did you do it?!" to her. I looked over at her face for her response, and she did one of those low sort-of-embarrassed chuckles and shifted her eyes to her feet. At that moment, I wasn't just looking at her, I was noticing her. I saw her sunken-in cheeks, the way her bones popped out of her hands, how I could almost see every vein on what little skin she was showing (she had covered up that day, and it was a nice day too). I couldn't believe I had missed how she had drastically changed, and in only just a few months because of this disease.
The book mentions an interesting concept that I also remember my friend stating. "Along with a 'fear of fatness,' individuals with anorexia-like those with bulimia-have a distorted perception of their body size. Even those with bones showing through their skin may describe themselves as fat," (Lilienfeld, 437). My friend was terrifiedof being fat! She even said this right after I realized what she was doing to herself, and that she thought she was actually fat. This might be a stupid comment, and please comment below if you know, but I wonder if someone with anorexia looks in the mirror and their image of themselves is literally distorted. As in, they honestly see the "fat" around their bones. Is this what the book is saying?
"Psychologists diagnose anorexia when individuals display a refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (specifically, their body weight is less than 85 percent of that expected)...Concerns about body shape can become so all-consuming that individuals with anorexia stubbornly deny the seriousness of their condition and resist pressure from family and friends to gain weight," (Lilienfeld, 437). I watched this Dr. Phil episode (below) on TV, and as I was writing this blog post, I thought about his episode. At one point in the episode, the family was claiming that she was refusing to get better. This problem is also coupled with the fact that she has many other problems, such as stealing, manipulating her family (supposedly), fighting her family, etc. Keep in mind when watching the video that correlation does not equal causation (e.g. the disease is causes her to steal).
Sorry for the long blog post! Thank you for reading!