This here is just a little announcement to all of you that I am going to be ending this blog. I will not be deleting it, as I think that that would be a little stupid, but I am not going to be posting any more on here. If I ever create a new blog, I’ll probably comment on here with the address, but I don’t think that that’s going to happen. Thanks so much for all of you followers, readers, and commenters. It’s been great. ❤
The Long-Term Impact of Anorexia
You hear the word anorexia, you think weight loss. If only the consequence of this illness was that limited. Although anorexia is a psychological disease, it behaves more like a physical disease, namely cancer. A cancer cell may begin its life in the breast, brain or bone; but given enough time, it will metastasize throughout the body with a singular goal of destroying all healthy tissue it encounters.
Similarly, anorexia may start with a simple diet and associated weight loss. But, once this disease gets a firm grip on its subject, it too metastasizes – and it doesn’t stop at merely ravaging a woman’s body. Instead, it strives to destroy her mind, spirit, relationships, future, and ultimately, her life. Sadly, it is often successful on every front.
Anorexia kills people. In fact, this disease enjoys the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric disorder. In the case of a celebrity death, the media provides coverage. Perhaps the first recognized case was that of Karen Carpenter in the early 80s. An anorexic who relied on ipecac for vomiting, she died of heart failure. Years later, she was followed by Christina Renee Henrich, a world-class gymnast who died in 1994. Ana Carolina Reston Macan, a famous Brazilian model, died in 2006, and Isabelle Caro, a French actress and model, succumbed to the disease in 2010. Interestingly and ironically, this second model had displayed her shockingly skinny body in an advertising campaign designed to raise awareness of anorexia.
So, when a celebrity dies, it makes headlines. But what about the thousands of women and girls and men who will die this year from the same disease? Their stories, though equally important, will probably go unreported.
Certainly, the majority of those who have anorexia will not die. But make no mistake, the long-term consequences of this disease can be severe.
Initially, the health consequences related to anorexia are noticeable: emaciated appearance, dry skin and hair, bluish fingertips, etc. Unfortunately, the long-term and far more severe medical issues cannot be seen on the surface.
The brain actually shrinks due to lack of nutrition with a commensurate lowering of IQ. The skeletal system is damaged, especially if the anorexia occurs in adolescents before the bones are fully developed. Nearly 90% of women with anorexia experience osteopenia (loss of bone calcium) and 40% have osteoporosis (more advanced loss of bone density). This bone loss is usually permanent.(1)
Because the entire hormonal system is compromised by starvation, infertility often results and can be permanent. Perhaps the most endangered organ in the body is the heart. In fact, the most common cause of death in anorexics is heart disease. Much of this is related to muscle deterioration. As the body strives to maintain life, it starts consuming its own muscle; in effect, it starts eating itself. The heart is not immune.
Impact on Relationships
Anorexia is in the destruction business. This is not confined to the individual with the disease. No matter what the connection is — parents with an ill daughter; a husband with an anorexic wife — the relationship will be profoundly impacted, if not destroyed altogether. This is because such a disease is unfathomable to anyone who does not have it.
Whereas a woman may have some understanding as to why she embraces certain behaviors, those in a relationship with her simply see self-destruction. With each additional pound lost, she inevitably changes. She becomes more obsessed with food and weight, frequently loses interest in normal life and activities, and often isolates.
Basically, she transforms into a completely different person. How can this not negatively impact relationships with friends and family? Friendships, even marriages, often end due to frustration or fear. Although parents may remain connected and involved, even that relationship is dramatically affected as they watch their daughter slip away into the disease.
Anorexia is not a disease of any one group or belief system. Especially, it is not relegated to those who believe in God, or not. In fact, profoundly committed Christian women sometimes begin walking the anorexic path as an extension of perfectionism. They possess a strong desire to appear perfect to the church community – and according to our culture … that means thin. They forget that the Lord made every one of His children to be distinctive and unique. God doesn’t make cookie-cutter children. Additionally, He has a plan for every one of our lives; these plans undoubtedly do not include premature destruction.
Regardless of original intention behind weight loss, once a woman is in the grip of full-fledged anorexia, her relationship with God will likely be damaged. He will not leave her, but she might drift from Him. Perhaps she will disconnect from Him due to guilt or shame regarding her actions, or simply because she is too exhausted to focus on prayer or worship. Anorexia is a demanding, selfish disorder. It wants a woman’s full attention. Often, there is no room for a continuing relationship with a loving and nurturing God.
Change Is Possible
When a woman gets cancer, she immediately seeks treatment, knowing the sooner the medical intervention, the greater the possibility for a full recovery. Anorexia should be no different. Excellent, life-changing treatment is available. If you, or someone you know, struggles with anorexia, please get help immediately.
(Taken from Eating Disorder Hope, written by Debra Cooper)
A sidelong glance
eyes flick up and down
Hands cover self-consciously
The soft little bits that let others know you’re alive
You don’t care
You need to be skinny
The wind blew softly on the hills in May
The grass twirled ’round on that sunny day
But soon those hills will be gone away
It’s all a part of progress
The river went ’round a small island
Twisting and turning around the bend
But soon the life in the river will end
It’s all a part of progress
The forest is soaring, towering, high
The tops of the trees, they pierce the sky
But soon all these trees will wither and die
It’s all a part of progress
A young boy is running through a grassy field
When he grows up, he’ll have to yield
To a bullet in the heart, he failed, he kneeled
It’s all a part of progress
A girl sits straight in her wooden church pew
Crying, she knows, her cheeks change hue
Her brother has died, he’s gone on through
It’s all a part of progress
Eyes look down, they stare at screens
The silly young folk, the silly young teens
Oh no, ignore me, by all means
It’s all a part of progress
The sun is shining past silhouettes
Of trees, dark black, they contrast so
With bright colored flowers, bent in the breeze
If you listen carefully, you can hear it blow
The air is sweet, the air is warm
The grass feels wonderful on my feet
The soft little blades slide past my toes
As the sunlight falls down like a sheet
The ants crawl over my outstretched arm
My back is pressed against the Earth
My lungs expand, I smile in bliss
The whole world with me laughs with mirth
Okay, to start off, this is not an invitation to argue. This is not something that’s up for discussion, or up for interpretation by all of you. Yes, I may be sounding close-minded or some other garbage but this is what I think and I’ve already had loads of people try to change my mind. It’s not happening.
To start off, I am a feminist. Or, at least that’s what I like to call it. Others may disagree. I believe in equal pay for equal work, no taxes on tampons, etc., etc., etc.
I do not believe in abortion. Why, you may ask? Well, to answer that, I do not believe in pre-marital sex. I do not believe that it is okay or right to lose one’s virginity out of wedlock. Now, I realize that I just offended like, half of the Internet population, but let me explain myself first. I do not believe in pre-marital sex for women or men. The whole, ‘it’s okay to have sex with whoever I want’ thing came into being because 1) birth-control and 2) oftentimes men (as well as homosexual couples) were engaging in pre-marital sex without any consequences other than the occasional STD. This leads to what I like to call the sibling effect. Basically, it’s where one person does something, whether or not it is right, so then another person or group of people decides that they should be able to do that as well. That just creates a big pile of people all doing the wrong thing. Now, to clear up some points, I do, of course, believe in abortion to save the mother’s life, and I also would never think of calling someone out as wrong or bad because they were not a virgin due to sexual assault or anything else like that.
That is all I have to say as of now, Internet. Feel free to comment your beliefs and/or views on things, but please refrain from criticizing either me or others who comment.
Thank you, and have a lovely day.
‘Since when have I not been concerned about you?’
Lotte huffed and slumped away back into her chair, an air of annoyance almost radiated off of her. Her two blue eyes squinted up at Margery’s brownish-hazel ones from underneath her scrunched up golden eyebrows.
‘Fair enough, dear Miss Hall, but those previous occasions had all been because I was doing something risky, or heaven forbid, something that didn’t align with your ever so Christian ideals! What’s got your feathers in a bunch this time – the fact that I’m confused as to why people laugh?’
Margery, still unfazed by her companion’s whirlwind of emotions, twitches her lips into a smile. She looks at Lotte, her friend of nigh on seven years. They’d met when they were both going into Mortuary School, and they’d hit it off right away, though neither of them knew quite why. They were as different as a bird and an alligator. That, however, might be just the reason why they fit.
‘Lotte,’ Margery began, trying to make her tone sound soothing and reassuring instead of the annoyance and anger that was threatening to boil over onto her cool exterior. ‘I am merely worried that you haven’t ever laughed. It is a normal human experience, and a joyous one at that. It is something that all people should experience, and if they don’t, then, well, I pity them.’
Lotte’s red hot anger faded almost instantaneously into a cool, green, positively evil smile that spread itself across her pale countenance like a disease.
‘I suppose that’s why your family moved away…they couldn’t bear to watch you suffer without experiencing the joyous feelings of romantic and seh—‘
Margery stood up from her chair, raising herself to her full height of six feet and five inches, a staggering eleven inches taller than the just-above-average Lotte, who stood at five feet and eight inches, when she stretched. Lotte’s smile faltered a bit and her eyes gave away her slight fear and regret at having provoked her companion this much. Margery had a very long fuse, but once it went off, it went off. Margery’s lips were pursed into a hard white line and her eyes squinted down at the still-presumptuous smile that shined up at her like a challenge.
Lotte’s smile gave way completely as Margery hissed at her, ‘Don’t speak to me about things you have no sympathy for. Unlike you, I actually care what my family thinks of me and I don’t like to go through life harboring spiteful feelings towards those that I love.’
At the word ‘love’, Margery looked pointedly at Lotte, daring her to oppose. Lotte, her cocky spirit waning, bowed her head slightly in shame. ‘I’m sorry, Margery. It was wrong of me to say such things. My only hope now in life or in—’ her voice faltered slightly as she held back a smile. This whole apology was taught to her by Margery on the occasion that Lotte had offended the whole board of Funeral Directors by calling them a bunch of close-minded necrophiles. Needless to say, Margery had to write a long apology begging them to reconsider their applications and Lotte had to appear before them for a formal apology. In the end, Margery got off with a warning and Lotte had to prepare the corpses for the whole city-wide area. It was an event neither of them would forget for a long while.
Margery sighed and rubbed her face with her hand. Lotte was an idiot. A cocky, arrogant, self-impressed idiot. But she’s fun, Margery admitted to herself. And I’ll probably end up letting her get away with a lot before we’re through.
Please do let me know if this is any good. I’ve been thinking of writing some short stories for a long time and I’ve finally come up with some ideas. Also, if you’ve got any ideas for the two of them, please comment!
Notes on the characters:
Names and ages:
- Lotte Edna Gwladus [pronounced like Gladys] Moray, 26
- Margery Cyrilla Brooklynn Hall, 25
Lotte, cold and unfeeling, contrasts with Margery, warm and softhearted. Instead of Lotte being the smart and clever one, Margery is better at almost everything because of her emotions. They both work in a funeral home, Margery being the director and Lotte being the mortician. They are completely uninterested in any and all romance, but Lotte has a certain fondness for vague romance in movies, as she cares to imagine the one person turning down the heartbroken other, just for fun. They are friends and they met in college, where they both went to funeral director school, or whatever it’s called. Margery’s family lives far away in Washington State, and she has no siblings. Lotte’s family lives close by but are all drunkards and gamblers. She has two sisters and one older brother and all have made very unfortunate decisions in their lifetime, save the one sister who ran away to become a nun. She is the only one who’s gone to college.