Friday, February 28, 2014

Eating Disorders Awareness

Eek, didn't realize it was Eating Disorders Awareness Week. At least until I went on Facebook for the first time in a while last night and saw the 5 million posts about it.... At least it's already Friday, I guess. It's not that I have anything against NEDAW per se. I think awareness is a good thing, and I think that society in general has gotten better about covering the vast range of non-stereotypical eating disorders (a.k.a. acknowledging that there is more to eating disorders than 14-year-old white girls with anorexia) .

Thus I think all the attention given to eating disorders during this time of year is largely well-intentioned. BUT personally, I am so fucking sick of eating disorders that getting bombarded with headlines about rising rates and mortality statistics and EDs in boys and EDs in older women and EDs in minorities and binge-eating-counts and what-are-the-warning-signs etc. etc. etc. is kind of torturous. Plus, the week tends to morph into more of a love-your-body fest, at least on a college campus (which is where I've spent the last five years) than anything else.

I don't mean to bash the week; I think it's a good thing and I hope it continues. In fact, I hope that the attention eventually expands beyond just one week in February, since I think the whole "awareness week" thing has the tendency to sensationalize things a bit. Maybe not intentionally, but still. And too be honest, I don't know that we need to raise awareness of eating disorders very much; you'd kind of have to be a neanderthal not to know what they are or that they exist, but we do still very much need awareness about the nature of the illnesses—Axis I disorders on par with major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Eating disorders are still portrayed as kind of romanticized and trendy, and I would like that to change.

And in the meantime, I kind of wish I could plug my ears with ED-info-blocking plugs until the week is over. I am finally in a place where I don't think about my anorexia every second of the day, and what do ya know, it's kind of nice.

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