I’m stunned. I honestly am. I wasn’t planning on posting today but something just happened that made me feel the need to do so immediately. You all know by now how much I love love Instagram (IG). I’d just as soon do all my “social networking” on IG only and be happy. One of the things I love so much is when people I follow suggest other people to follow. It gets me so excited and I look them up and
stalk follow them right away and get some Insta-motivation! I don’t want to mention any specific names in this post but this morning a user that I follow suggested people follow another user, an inspirational girl who has made great strides in her weight loss goal. I checked her out and saw a message she had posted about a “pro-ana” IG accounts. This kind of shocked me. I had seen some “thinspo” stuff on Pinterest before but nothing too crazy (although I know it exists) and the thought somehow never occurred to me that it would be on IG as well. Ignorance is bliss, huh?? So, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on one of her hashtags and omg….my heart dropped instantly…all the way to the floor.
These girls, these faceless hopeless girls desperately seeking love and acceptance, they just broke my heart. The hundreds of thousands of images of young girls in their underwear with protruding hipbones and idolizing the famous actresses with admitted eating disorders. And let’s not forget the suicidal messages, goodbye notes and texts, pictures of hospitalized teens with their arms cut and wrapped. I can’t get the images out of my mind. And all the comments, the cries for help, I know will haunt me.
I’m not going to post any images here as my intention is not to glorify ED’s. I’m still unsure whether I should even publish this post because I don’t want to inadvertently contribute to anyone’s disease but I feel this is so important that I really wanted to maybe raise some awareness.
EVERY woman hates her body at some point in her life. Every single one. If you say you never have then you’re probably lying. I do not have an eating disorder. I never did, thankfully. But I know people that do or have and I’ve met even more through this blogging world now and every single one of them is drop-dead gorgeous!!! But they can’t see it…their disease blinds them. I think many women (myself included) have been on a “slippery slope” in regard to their weight and body image at some point. Most of us are lucky enough to have come out okay on the other end. But then there are those who are not so lucky. They feel alone, that no one understands them and they are desperately seeking a sense of “community” and empathy for what they are going through. Unfortunately they can now find that everywhere online. From blogs to chatrooms and now especially from social media sites like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. These people are trying to support one another but in my opinion it ends up contributing to the problem.
If you see these accounts, please don’t take it upon yourself to start bashing them and giving them “tough love”. They need your support and your love. Not your judgement and your ridicule. These are diseases, not choices.
THIS is why it’s so incredibly important to teach your children good habits about a healthy lifestyle. THIS is why we have such a responsibility as parents, teachers, friends, to teach by example, to lead healthy lifestyles so our children don’t grow up with these distorted views of beuty and perfection. THIS is one of my greatest fears for my daughter. That she won’t know how beautiful and perfect she really is. That she won’t be able to see it. That she will live in silent pain of depression and self-loathing and feel that the only support she can find is in an anonymous internet.
I just want to hug them. Every one of them and make them see how beautiful they are inside and out. I want to help them learn to love themselves and their bodies. I feel so blessed to have finally found my love for health and wellness and I don’t know how else to help people find theirs other than this blog.
The pictures of the bones and the cutting and the utter desperation…There are some things that you see that affect you profoundly and this is one of them. Just the extreme number of users is upsetting enough not to mention the captions of the pictures, the envy people express over them and even the user names themselves. Again, I won’t mention some of the specific ones I saw but they gave me tears in my eyes.
Please. If you know of anyone, girl, boy, adult, anyone that is suffering, please help. The hatred of these diseases know no limits. The eating disorders, the depression, the guilt, the shame it’s just so very sad to see someone in so much pain.
I wanted to share a couple of devastating statistics I found. (these are from the ANAD website I’ve linked below).
• Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.1
• Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.2
• Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.3
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.4
This is really scary stuff. Take a look at this article which really explains in more detail the definition of pro-ana, pro-mia, and pro-ED (pro-anorexia, pro-bulemia, pro-eating disorders) websites and social media accounts. The study they talk about is particularly disturbing to me.
If you think you might have an eating disorder or know someone who does, you can visit The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders for more information. And please talk to someone…a parent, friend, teacher, neighbor, counselor. If you feel that you have no one, then talk to me…I’m always here if you need me, it may take me a little bit to get back to you, but I will, I promise. I’m no expert, but I will do anything I can to help. Please don’t let yourself suffer alone!
I could write about this forever and I am deeply moved by what I’ve seen today but I will leave you with this picture. You ARE beautiful, yes you. God made us all beautiful, please let’s stop hating ourselves and hating each other. Let’s help people treat their bodies and their lives with love and respect.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this subject….but please…only love here…I will delete anything mean spirited. xoxo