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Eating Disorders: Thieves of Life & Happiness

What comes to mind when you think of an eating disorder? Do you think of Hollywood stars, models, success, and popularity? Or do you think of sadness, isolation, disgust, and guilt? If you or someone you love has suffered from an eating disorder, you likely know that the reality of these disorders falls into the latter category. mackie blog pic

Eating disorders are not phases, fads, diets, or quick fixes. Rather, they are serious lethal mental illnesses. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of all psychiatric illnesses to date. To allow somebody to struggle through an eating disorder untreated is essentially to allow somebody to play with death.

Eating disorders are manipulative thieves that steal away life. They steal away the little moments of happiness that we are all capable and deserving of experiencing in life. Happiness is not in the number on the scale. Happiness is in your child’s smile, in the warmth of a pet cuddled up in your arms, in the sunshine, in a song, or in a movie night with close friends. Say ‘yes’ to food. Say ‘yes’ to health. Say ‘yes’ to life.

This poem means a lot to me, and I want to share it with you:

 

“You say

‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’

I say

nothing feels as good as eating dinner with your family

on a Saturday night

laughing and talking and chewing

feeling free.

Nothing feels as good as baking cookies with little siblings

stealing bits of dough and chocolate chips

and eating one fresh out of the oven.

Nothing feels as good as curling up on the couch with a good book

and a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate

with extra marshmallow

on a cold winter’s night

because you chose to be healthy

to get better

to see colour again

because the little things make it worth the struggle.

You take your skinny, your bones, your hunger

I’ll take

life.”

a.j.h.

 

Can you accept a compliment?

compliment

(Maybe take two. They’re small).

It has been my observation (and the observation of others… multiple others) that many women can’t. I see it all the time, especially in my work with teenage girls. Tell any given 16 year-old girl that her hair looks nice or she played a great game of softball or that her piece in the art show was beautiful and you’ll most likely get a response back that deflects that compliment (at best) or downright redirects the compliment into something “wrong” with her or why she’s not good enough (at worst).

And it’s not just teenagers who are guilty of this behavior.  Comedy Central’s Amy Schumer created a video that takes this behavior in women to extremes and it went viral – it’s been viewed over 1 million times since it was released in May of 2013. The societal parody depicts a group of girlfriends responding with self-loathing remarks each time they are complimented by one another. The compliments range from comments about appearance and weight to things like work promotions and pregnancy. But the scathing comments that each woman remarks back about herself drive home the point to an absurd length: women cannot take compliments.

(Warning: the video is not even remotely politically correct, censored, or safe-for-work. If you offend easily, you probably shouldn’t watch it. But it is funny because it is extreme. And it is so extreme because this is SUCH a predominant behavior among otherwise healthy functioning women. We need the wakeup call, ladies.)

Why do we do this??

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