Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

documentaries and memoirs


ImageI seem to write one blog and then immediately get inspired for another one and then go awhile with nothing.  So my mind works in spurts. 

This post is another one sparked by my activity on facebook.  I’ve noticed people posting youtube videos–“eating disorder documentaries”–and apparently there are a plethora of them out there on youtube.  These documentaries are supposed to be educational, documenting what an eating disorder really is and the hells of having an eating disorder.  And they succeed. 

But why do you need to watch them if you’ve already got an eating disorder?  You know the hell of having one.  You know the realities.  There’s nothing that one of these documentaries can show you that you don’t already know. 

You may claim that it’s reassuring to know other people out there struggle like you.  You already know that.  Look at your friends on facebook.  Look at the friends “liking” these documentaries and most of them have eating disorders already.  So you’ve already got a network of others like you.  And real live people tend to be more supportive than a two minute montage set to a depressing song.

This brings me to my problems with these videos.  If they were meant to provide support and encouragement, I’d be all for them.  But these videos whose purpose is to show what an eating disorder really is do one main thing:  trigger the hell out of people stuck in the hell of an eating disorder.  Without getting too descriptive and, therefore, triggering, I’ll say that the montage of pictures are what I would label as “pro-ana” or “pro-mia” images. 

If you want to recover, these are not the images you need to be looking at.  These images do nothing but reinforce the eating disorder and make it more difficult to make choices toward recovery. 

Similarly, reading and rereading and rereading eating disorder memoirs and underlining and marking passages and quoting them on facebook and then rereading them some more is only doing more harm than good.  Again, you know what the hell of an eating disorder is all about.  You don’t need to read about it.  You need to read about people who have recovered, people who have fought the battle of recovery and won.  

These are two choices you can make to further your own recovery.  I know it’s not easy.  The pictures and the memoirs have their pull on the part of you tied to the eating disorder.  But if you really want to recover, you can help silence that eating disorder part of you and help the real you grow and flourish.

Recovery is a choice.  Not one choice.  A million and a half small choices that must be made on a daily basis.  Some of them will need to be made multiple times.  But the power is in your hands.


September 16, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I have no idea why the photo posted twice.

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | September 16, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks again for always putting the right things in front of me when I need them

    Comment by Shannon | September 16, 2012 | Reply

  3. I assume that people who make the videos are triggered by their obsessions to make them just as the people who go looking for them. I think the same thing happens with depressed people (me for example) and suicidal people. They go looking for the topic because it becomes their obsession.

    Comment by aLonelyRunner | September 16, 2012 | Reply

  4. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for writing about this Alexis. I’d even go farther and say that some of the videos that people have “video blogging” are equally unhealthy. At least for me, I never get anything positive from watching them except maybe some consolidation that I am not alone- however I end up feeling worse rather than even in the tiniest bit better so that little consolidation that I am “not alone” is really not worth it. Eating disorders thrive off of drama whether external or internal and whether people admit it or not….recovering can be dull compared to living in your disorder- so many of the video blogs out there are about “treatment” and doctor appointments and whether people made weight etc. I guess I do not have a point to this comment except that I agree.

    Comment by Jessica | September 17, 2012 | Reply

  5. Very true, and a good reason to avoid the clips. I much prefer the plethora of pro-recovery quotes and posts, and wish more could be done to spread the hope for recovery instead of the fear of letting go of the ED.

    Really enjoying your blog!

    Comment by apurpledreamer | September 17, 2012 | Reply

  6. “And real live people tend to be more supportive than a two minute montage set to a depressing song.” I needed a laugh and this unexpectedly made me chuckle. Thanks.

    Comment by givebackyourheart | September 22, 2012 | Reply

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