This post was originally shared in 2017
Today, a member of our family died from complications arising from her battle with Anorexia. She was 55 and had struggled for many years, spending the last 5 in a wheelchair as her frail body simply did not have the energy to enable her to stand.
Our experience of Anorexia and knowledge of it is limited. But we do know it’s traditionally portrayed as, and seen as, an illness affecting younger generations, both male and females, who are struggling to grasp their own identity in a world where image – how you look, how successful you are, is all important and incredibly damaging to self esteem and mental wellbeing, especially if you feel you aren’t reaching the plateau others do, and through setting your own bar unrealistically high.
And these struggles can seriously impact self esteem.
We started thinking how anorexia could be interpreted as another kind of suicide, whether sufferers realise it or not. And we also acknowledged that people do recover and lead happy and healthy lives. It is really important we all recognise that there is always hope.
We don’t believe that people starving themselves want to die, but their fear of eating is over-whelming, believing food is the enemy to be avoided at all costs.
Are eating disorders avoidable, through early identification and intervention? Or is it that the pressures of life drive some of us to such self doubt, self hatred even, that we deny ourselves food as a form of punishment? A little like self harmers who cut themselves to feel a little better and ease pain and torment. My experience of self harm is that I deserved it, such was my dislike of myself…..
As triggers go, it appears in my cousin’s case it stemmed back many years to a failed relationship which she never truly recovered from. She was successful in her career, has a wonderful family, who are close and supportive, yet, the frailties of our minds are such that in some cases, nothing, no amount of love and support, can stop the rot once anorexia takes hold. When each pound lost, each new and enhanced bone protrusion is seen as a step nearer perfection by the distorted and tormented mind.
Is it the lack of nutrition that de-stabilises the mind still further, ensuring the avoidance of food is maintained until skeletal status is achieved? And even then, it’s not enough, because the pattern seems to continue until the body is at breaking point and can no longer exist.
We don’t pretend to have the answers, but would be interested from anyone who has suffered, is suffering, or who has been bereaved through Anorexia.
So many questions, so little understanding of an area which we firmly believe needs more research, more exposure and more understanding.
After all , it’s not just bodies that are broken. It’s minds as well.
RIP Sharon x
If you have a story to share about anorexia, please contact us in the hope it may help others. Thank you