Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.


“Please don’t worry about me.”

“I’m fine.”

“I’m not sick enough yet.”

“I don’t deserve to go into treatment.”

These four statement often follow something along the lines of “I haven’t been doing all that well. But I can hold on” or “People are telling me to go inpatient, but . . .”

Here’s what I think.  When someone says this, they are really asking you to convince them they are worthy of seeking help.  They want you to tell them how sick they are.  They want reassurance that yes, they are indeed sick.  This is not meant to be an accusation, or a critique.  I think it’s a part of the illness.  I think it’s similar to how some people post pictures online that outright display how thin they are, but then deny it when you confront them.  

I will always support people to enter treatment if they need it.  Even if they aren’t mentally ready to give the eating disorder up yet.  But if it buys them time, if it keeps them alive, it is worth it.  But I do have to admit that sometimes, I get tired of back-and-forth of “should I or shouldn’t I” even when the person admits his or her treatment teams wants them inpatient or in PHP.  What am I supposed to say?  I feel as if my words are hollow.

Some times are harder to hear these lines than others.  Times like now.  Just a couple of weeks after the two year anniversary of a friend’s death from anorexia.  In June, there was another two year anniversary of another friend.  In November, they’ll be another similar anniversary.  And then in February another one.  In fact, I can’t think of a single month where I don’t have an anniversary–not of people I’ve heard about or met online, but people who I knew face-to-face.  I’ve lost count of the people I know who have died from these illnesses.  Through conferences and Lobby Days, I’ve met countless parents who have lost their children, children who have lost a parent.

Yesterday, on Facebook I found out about two more girls who have died.  And then today, I read about how people are debating whether or not they “deserve” treatment because they aren’t “sick enough.”  

There is no magic line of “sick enough.” If you have an eating disorder, you deserve treatment.  In fact, if you don’t wait until  you think you’re sick enough, you have a better chance of not needing to return to treatment.  Seek treatment early.  Stay in treatment as long as you can.  

How many more people have to die before we get this?  When I’m in a room with 10 anorexics, I can’t help but look around and think “Two of us are going to die.  Who’s it going to be?”  This is not a melodramatic statement.  Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric illnesses.  

We are not infallible.


July 26, 2009 - Posted by | death, Eating Disorders | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I love this!! How do I link this to show my peeps?

    Comment by Diana | July 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. copy the url and then post it in your status box.

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 26, 2009 | Reply

  3. Alexis, this is sosososo true. And I have had this discussion with my therapist…not about me but about my many friends who are struggling. I agree with you, that even if they’re not ready, if it buys them time, it’s worth it (she thinks they shouldn’t do it until they’re mentally ready because it will just reduce their hope and make them and their family feel like nothing will help…which I also understand but, I’m looking at it differently). It’s terribly sad. I’m lucky enough to not have lost anyone close to me, not yet. Friends-of-friends, only. Not even any of my facebook friends. Again, I consider myself very lucky. Although there are women I was in treatment with, older women who were very sick and who did not have facebook, who I will never know if they are still alive, and that scares me.

    But I agree. There’s always that “my team thinks I should go inpatient but I don’t think I’m sick enough.” And it’s so hard to know what to say.

    Comment by Jess K | July 27, 2009 | Reply

  4. Alarming… thanks for this post!

    I have thought I was not sick enough for 13 years. And for me it is like… I don’t know I was never like skinny-skinny. I always wanted to be but Bulimia only brought me away from becoming obese. I always thought, that only anorexics would die. Then I fainted at work and broke down in tears at the Health Center. I finally seeked help. My nutritionist told me that most die of Bulimia. I never thought it could kill and I guess I can call myself lucky… but I am very scared.

    Please help:

    Comment by stopmyeds | July 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. This is all so true, thanks so much for writing it. I feel that way a lot but its true, you always think you’re not sick “enough,” but when will you be? When you’re dead? Definitely gives people something to think about.

    Comment by Katie D | August 2, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: