Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Seriously on the pictures, folks. . .


This is a personal rant. Again.  Concerning Facebook.  Again.  Concerning pictures.  Again.

So after my last entry on pictures, bemoaning the plethora of albums chronicling weight loss or celebrating being in treatment, there seems to be an increase in them today.  Or maybe I’m just sensitive to them.

Today, as I wrote in my previous post, is To Write Love on Her Arms day.  You write “LOVE” on your arm.  Hopefully people ask questions.  Hopefully there is education and awareness involved.

There have also been pictures involved.  Oh, not just of an arm with “LOVE” on it.

Pictures of the “eating disorder look at me and please comment” type.  What do I mean, in case you are confused?

  • pulling the shoulders in and allowed the chest to cave so the shoulders to make those collarbones stick out more.
  • Holding the arms so that the thinnest part is accentuated
  • sucking in your cheeks
  • Body shots take from above, elongating the body and making you appear thinner
  • tank tops.  in cold ass weather.  but what a way to show the clavicles.
  • short shirts that show just how much you have to cinch your belt

Don’t think we don’t notice. Don’t think it’s not obvious what you are trying to do: make yourself appear thinner than you are.  Why?  So then you can feel worthy of having this label called an eating disorder.  Because, after all, only the thin deserve it, right? Only the thinnest are the sickest, right?  Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

A) Why do I have a list of people who have died from an eating disorder that weren’t emaciated when it happened?

B) How do you think these pictures make people feel who have an eating disorder but aren’t underweight?  There’s often a rift between anorexics and bulimics because of this.  People who aren’t “thin enough” often don’t feel they deserve to be in treatment.  These pictures reinforce that rift.

C) How exactly do you think these pictures make other people feel?  Do you honestly think it makes them feel good about themselves?  I’ll be blunt: it makes them feel like shit.  Eating disorders bring out the competitive nature in too many people, and combine that with the fact that few of us actually see our body as it really is, what do we get but, “I’m not as thin as she is.”  It’s the inevitable self-condemning thought that could spiral someone into self-hatred for never being that thin or that sick and bamm those thoughts of relapse come sneaking back in.

D) How the hell are other people supposed to respond?  There are no safe answers.  “Oh, honey, you look so thin, I’m worried about you. Love you.”  Yup.  All that does is tell the person posting the pictures Yes, I’m winning.  I look thin. yeah, well what a game to play when the prize is death.  And if you say, “You look like shit.  Get help,” you’ll get the same response. There are no safe comments on the way people look when they are struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder. How many “what to do if your friend has an eating disorder” sheets need to say that before we, including those with eating disorders get the point?

 

There is a difference between posting pictures of you taking part in life and not posing for the camera to highlight your thinnest areas and those pictures taken in the privacy of your bedroom, set up specifically to make you look thinner.  And then posting them on your profile.

Do yourself a favor.  Do the friends you supposedly care about a favor. Think about how harmful the effects of such pictures can be. And delete them.

Sure, you’re not responsible for another person’s relapse.  We can only take responsibility for our own actions, but one of those actions is being respectful of other people’s well-being.

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November 13, 2009 - Posted by | Body Image, Eating Disorders | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Comments »

  1. Thumbs up on this post! I love all your articles, but this is my favorite so far. I like the way you write without sounding condencending or a “know it all”. I wish you didnt live so far away as you are such a good influence.

    Comment by diana | November 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. I totally agree with EVERYTHING you’ve posted here. As someone who still struggles with body image problems even having been in a good recovery for about a year, pictures like what you’ve spoken of here really get to me. I know I am guilty of having done it in the past as a cry for help, but now they just piss me off because I now realize in hind site how much they may hurt other people while simultaneously hurting the person posting it by furthering their descent into anorexia.

    Comment by Nikita | November 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Well put, Nikita. I don’t think these people realize how much it keeps THEMSELVES blued to the eating disorder and prevents them from moving forward

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thank you!

    Comment by Kristin | November 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. yup yup, agree with everything.

    Comment by janie | November 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. Well, said. I’ve refrained from commenting on your entries about pictures on facebook b/c I don’t run into it often. I am very picky about who I “friend” on facebook. (Not just in relation to eating disorders, but I’m ) But a very private person in general.) I only keep in touch with a handful of people I’ve been in treatment with and all but a few are recovered/recovering. Until you started writing about this topic, I didn’t know how prevalent it had become.

    It disturbs me that this is going on. I’m shocked. And sad. I have asked myself if facebook had been around when I was at my thinnest/sickest, would I be doing the same thing? The answer I’ve come up with is No, I wouldn’t. I was never outwardly proud of my low weight. I always tried to hide it as much as possible. I went running any time I was at a family function and a camera was produced. There are no pictures of me with an NG tube, ect…

    In the interest of honesty, for a long time, I was inwardly proud of my weight, even after it compromised my health. There were a lot of things I did I am not proud of. Just when it turned into something I was ashamed of, I’m really not sure. But it was early on in my illness. I think the eating disoredered community has morphed into something very different than it was 10 years ago. The acceptance of choosing an anorexic lifestyle, or eating disorderd lifestyle, is still fairly new.

    But I think you, Lexie, are a part of the solution to this situation. Bringing these issues up and talking about them from a recovered point of view will help some people see the harm they are doing to themselves and others. You’re planting seeds, that with time, may mature into better understanding and permanent changes.

    Comment by unknownperson | November 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. As someone that came from being very overweight to what my RD says is now what my body seems to like I know about the body image issue. I still have an ED, it just switched from feeding me all the time to never feeding me. I’m doing ok now but still have no idea how people must see me. I have posted a few pictures on my site but never in the way that you mentioned. Just in the real life kind of way. It was important to me to do that. I really only have pictures of me before I lost the weight, I think that’s what is holding me back from accepting myself as I am now.

    I have stumbled onto a few pictures like you speak of, once on a treatment providers page. It really made me think, “I can’t have a problem I’m no where near that. But I can lose enough to get there and then people will know I have a problem.” I thank God that my RD is the one that controls my weight now not ED. One day I’ll take back that control but for now I don’t know nor need to know. I’m just David sized.

    Comment by david | November 14, 2009 | Reply

    • “i’m just David sized.” love it.

      I always like hearing your opinions here, David. I hope you keep replying.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 14, 2009 | Reply

    • And yes, one day you WILL take back that control.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 14, 2009 | Reply

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I couldn’t agree more. I just had to go through and delete treatment friends from FB because I can’t stand looking at their pictures anymore. I feel like I’m in shaky grounds right now in my recovery and the last thing I need is to see pictures like that. It felt good to delete people and is giving me strength to fight off ED voices because their pictures weren’t helping, only harming me.

    Comment by Shellly | November 14, 2009 | Reply

  8. I’m late on this since I am actually IP right now for bulimia-ha! And you’re right. It makes me feel so shitty. I see all my anorexic friends and I’m like oh yeah, good for you, bitch. I know it’s awful but I get so down on myself. I’m here trying to get help, I go to check my Facebook to see if I have any messages and then BAM right there on the home page are collarbones and chestbones and just GAH! I’m posting this on my tumblr, btw. I want more people to read it.

    Comment by Sarah | November 15, 2009 | Reply

    • sorry you are inpatient and feeling like shit because of what you see around you. That shouldn’t be the case. And if FB is a trigger, delete the people who are posting those pictures. YOUR well being and recovery is worth that much.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 15, 2009 | Reply


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