The following text is the reply to a journalist’s request for an interview, sent by a research scientist from our team. ANAMIA is a research project about online communities of persons suffering from eating disorders. Often, researchers from our team are asked for interviews in the media. This is an essential part of science communication, insofar as it helps disseminate the results of our research to the general public. Yet, it can turn out to be problematic: eating disorders come with a fair amount of social stigma, and the risk of being misrepresented is an actual one. Scientists can rely on reporters’ professionalism for not being misquoted. But sometimes the context can distort the message. The genre of a TV programme, or the general tone of a newspaper can bias the message in such a way that, despite the accuracy of the quotations, the public is misled. These situations can be scientifically and ethically challenging for the researchers. In order to exemplify the issues at stake for our researchers, and in the hope of promoting critical thinking both in the media and in the scientific community, we have decided to publish the anonymized version of this letter.
Such a fucking good letter, I would highly recommend spending the 2 minutes it requires to read it. I’m so happy that there are researchers like those on the ANAMIA team.
I have created this Tumblr account in order to address issues surrounding restrictive eating disorders. I will be focusing on issues very personal to me; specifically, anorexia nervosa and EDNOS-restrictive subtype (EDNOS-r); Project Shapeshift, a long-standing, international ED support site for adults (18-50+!); and the history of the ProAna Movement, a controversial phenomenon which was birthed by individuals suffering from ED's; seeking empowerment and to reject the victim/sick label. Personally, I have mixed emotions about ProAna, but I have been no more disturbed than in recent years, with the advent of the Second-Wave ProAna Movement; primarily comprised of minors between 9 and 13 years of age. I will no doubt discuss these issues more in-depth as time goes on. I feel it is important to understand the origins of the ProAna Movement as a whole; differences between the First-Wave and Second-Wave phenomena and issues surrounding both. The recent phenomenon of mainstream populations considering ED's like AN as "chic" or "cool" is profoundly repugnant to my being. I am adamant about the fact that for most who walk Ana's Path, this is NOT A CHOICE! People who practice Volitional Anorexia are another story and a much more recent phenomenon. These individuals covet anorexia and embrace the tenets of asceticism as a Lifechoice. Some even pretty up their agenda with a relatively new, as-yet more socially acceptable moniker: CRON (Caloric Restriction; Optimal Nutrition).
What of my own Journey? I have been everywhere this disease can take someone -- including to Death's door. Today, I utilize my knowledge and experience to reach out to others who also Live with ED's and hope to share the bridging philosophy which has enabled me to effect a tenuous but undeniable peace: Walking Ana's Path in Optimal Wellness. My mission is to promote greater understanding and to share my personal concept of balancing one's Life and one's restrictive ED in a feasible, functional and realistic manner. IT CAN BE DONE! For me, and for many others, the Journey is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment internal war; one from which most of us will never be entirely free. One does not "recover" from an ED. One CAN learn to MANAGE his/her ED, but there is no cure. Even in the countless memoirs which are considered "success/Healing" stories, the acknowledgment that Ana never leaves us is pervasive throughout them all. This is a message which needs to be acknowledged and discussed. Modern treatment modalities have failed to help the majority of individuals suffering from chronic, intractable AN. It is this awareness, coupled with my own personal experience, which has culminated in my honing the Optimal Wellness philosophy.
I define Optimal Wellness as follows:
1. Striving to Live WITH, not FOR, one's ED; and
2. Striving to find a workable balance between overt ED pathology and perfect health.
Embracing this approach allows one to eliminate the discouraging, distressing, dangling carrot monotony of chasing a non-existent "cure". The day to day experience of striving to Live Optimally Well is best described as "walking the Thin Red Line." This line, for me, is the bridge between overt ED pathology and perfect health. One must exert a consummate effort to achieve this elusive, tenuous balance, but it CAN be done.
The incidence, prevalence and impact of eating disorders has never been greater. In my own Journey, I have explored many approaches to Living with an eating disorder. I am 35 now and have been walking Ana's Path in earnest for many years now. IT IS TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE that modern treatment modalities fail to help the vast majority of individuals with anorexia nervosa -- especially when the disease is long-standing.
I also discuss the website and forum I inherited in February of 2010: Project Shapeshift. This Site and Forum Community is among the very few surviving First-Wave ProAna websites. Our Creatress authored a thought-provoking, intellectual, highly respected and most thoroughly-studied (and now, infamous!) texts ever written from inside the ProAna Movement: Ana's Underground Grotto. The original texts are published on our main Site. There is much to say about the advent of the ProAna Movement and its psychosocial impact on our society today, and I will no doubt address these issues further over the course of time.
If you have any questions, comments, requests or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me here, or via email ( email@example.com). Be well, precious ones!
Stuff I like (all)
- North American Monarch Butterfly Protection Urged By 150 Intellectuals
Photo I took at Whitewater Preserve in November 2013.
The article can...