One man's long battle with eating disorders


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Nearly 80 years now. How patient do I have to be, exactly?

There is a stubbornness that seems to be part of this disorder. (As exhibited in my extended family, comparing those who have dealt with eating disorders versus those who have not.) That stubbornness makes it exceedingly hard to get through to the person. They are right and you are wrong. The more you try to help, the deeper they dig. As soon as they get out of the hospital, they’re feeling strong and healthy again, and then back down the rabbit hole they go.

Another side of my family has alcohol/substance abuse addictions as the primary issue. MUCH easier to overcome. People do not realize how intransigent eating disorders are.


I think that’s one reason why anorexia/body dysmorphia is so scary (the first one being that it’s deadly of course): The sufferer is driven to mislead and mistrust the people who are trying to help them. They are utterly convinced that their loved ones and helpers have no qualms about turning them into grotesque monsters. It completely appals them. I imagine it’s probably as nightmarish a feeling as suddenly having everyone around you insist that you’d be so much better off covered in oozing, alien pustules, and taking steps so that you actually get that way. It’s a Twilight Zone scenario.

I have known a couple of people with that disorder- one of them has been struggling with it for 50 years- and it’s like they deeply believe something horrific- literally worse than death itself- will happen if they relinquish control and let go. What an agonizing disease.


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