“To all the girls that think you’re ugly because you’re not a size 0, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society that’s ugly.” Lady Gaga
A Survivor’s Story
As an Anorexia survivor, I understand that people with anorexia nervosa have to be very careful about how they internalize body image. Several years ago now, when my anorexia was at its worst, I was nearly six feet tall, barely weighing an hundred and thirty five pounds. Continuing this downward trend, one day I collapsed in my living room floor. I was alone and having stomach convulsions. My body was so weak that I could not raise myself from the ground. I literally prayed to God.
It was not until almost a decade later that I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I learned that when I had bouts of depression, the anorexia would take over. The medications to stabilize my condition caused me to gain weight rapidly. This was excruciating. I asked my psychiatrist for diet pills. Bad choice. Healthy eating and lifestyle changes are the best response. Once you overcome anorexia, a return to dieting can be very dangerous even when it seems innocent.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
According to Dr. Adam J. Flisser, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of New York’s Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, “While most people think of anorexia as an eating disorder, in actuality, anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric diagnosis…” People with anorexia suffer from body image distortion. This internal misrepresentation makes them feel overweight despite the often reality that they are of normal, or below average proportions.
Myth: Anorexia is a rich girl’s disease.
FACT: Anorexia crosses cultural and socioeconomic barriers. Psychiatric diseases do not discriminate.
Myth: Anorexia only happens to young girls.
FACT: Most anorexics are in their late twenties, and it can happen to males too.
Lady Gaga Sends a Message for “The Beautiful Ones”
We’ve all heard that with great power comes great responsibility. Millions of people follow the words and deeds of celebrities like gospel (or a little less than that). However, sometimes what is said is not worth hearing though the media loves a good sound byte. Thus when there is something poignant that can affect a generation in a very significant way, it is important to give those things their due momentum (even if it means repetition after the fact).
Earlier this year Lady Gaga shared that she had suffered from anorexia and bullimia since the age of fifteen. This is a serious statement, since anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. She has been in a tough battle for a long time. Now, there are young starlets and more ogling her success.
Whether or not Gaga is on your iPhone playlist, she did something that is still speaking to millions of people with and without the disease; and while I do not particularly listen to her music, it even sparked my attention as an anorexia survivor: she asked for some compassion. This is something that people with mental health conditions need from society.
Dealing with the stigmas of various diseases is difficult enough without being called pregnant because you put on some weight. Psychiatric conditions make it difficult to take control of various functions that most people take for granted. And some medications accelerate the natural inclinations of the body. Still, some people are quick to throw the “fat” word though there are real people who are suffering from real psychiatric conditions that have less to do with food than with mental health.
Young people are looking for a leader. There may not be one person on this earth who is the right leader for each and every one of them at once, but whomever they look to, that is a great responsibility. It is time to let them know that even those in the limelight are not perfect, not always on the mountain top, but sometimes need compassion too. Especially when people reach out for help, those who have a testimony of overcoming, we need not be silent but say, “You can make it.”
On her social media site, Little Monsters, Lady Gaga started her own body revolution that says you are more than your body; and more than little monsters are feeling the love.
Source: “Lady Gaga Reveals Bulimia, Anorexia Battle, Shares Photos” http://www.billboard.com/news/lady-gaga-reveals-bulimia-anorexia-battle-… 25 Nov. 2012