Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

July 4th is a time to celebrate freedom: freedom from tyranny, from oppression, from authority. These are concepts we typically think of in the context of politics. I've been thinking about a different kind of freedom this year: freedom from eating disorders.

The analogy is apt, though most people don't know it. Having an eating disorder is like being a slave, subject to the whims and demands and impossible expectations of a taskmaster well-versed in the art of punishment. When you have an eating disorder, you do what it says, whether that's to refrain from eating even though you're starting, or to purge every calorie you do eat, or to stay awake when you're exhausted (because you don't deserve to sleep/eat/live). Having an eating disorder is the very opposite of freedom. You're not free to choose when it comes to some of the most fundamental elements of your life.

Anyone who's had an eating disorder can tell you that it's not a choice. You are not exercising free will every time you stick your finger down your throat, or push away a plate. You're in the grip of an irrational tyrant who has no regard for your feelings, your health, your sanity.

So this July 4th, I'm thinking about everyone who's ever struggled with an eating disorder, who's felt the iron grip of tyranny around her throat, stomach, mind, and who is struggling to become free. I want you to know that you can become free. There is hope. There is life outside of the crushing oppression of an eating disorder.

And here's to it, and to you.


Jane Cawley said...

Love this!

Sammy said...

I've been working at a country club, often at the dessert table during buffets, and a few people piled their plates with desserts yesterday before looking at me, holding up their plates, and saying things like "this is what independence is about, right?" It was a welcome change from the usual response to the dessert table, which is "oh no, everything looks so good but it's all so bad!"

Right on! Hope your summer is going well.

Anonymous said...

Freedom from Eds... now that is something worth celebrating! Not jut on July 4th but everyday of your life!