Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fat Anorexics

I weigh almost 300lbs and I have anorexia. Technically it's designated as atypical anorexia because I, obviously, don't meet the weight requirements for the more commonly known form of anorexia which requires a low body weight. I have fat anorexia, or, the type of anorexia that you have when you either don't lose weight or don't lose as much weight as it would take to gain an anorexia diagnosis.

I want to talk for a moment about resources for fat patients with eating disorders.

Well, that was short.

In other words, aside from a facebook group which I created for fat people with eating disorders (Body Love Through Struggle), there aren't really any resources specifically for fat people. So why not visit regular ED resource groups and be a part of the rest of the recovery community? Because ED resources are typically designed in a way that's incredibly fatphobic. Fat acceptance isn't a common or welcome philosophy and, let's face it, our fat bodies? They're the worst nightmare for most recovering eating disorder patients.

Eating disorders are entrenched in fatphobia. In fact, fat people, specifically young girls, are more at risk for eating disorders than their thin counterparts. That's because fatphobia drives eating disorders for most people. To get a little personal, my eating disorder started with stealing ephedra diet pills from my mom's purse because of her own internalized fatphobia. When my bipolar symptoms began, I gained weight. A lot of weight. About 100lbs in just three years. What that taught me was that fat was the worst thing a person can be. That you have zero worth as a fat person. I was popular as a thin girl and the punchline and punching bag as the fat girl. This is what drove me to restrictive eating which, soon after, turned into anorexia.

Everyday Feminism published THIS article on fatphobia in eating disorder communities. I saw it posted on facebook and made the mistake of reading the comments. What I saw was a lot of thin people getting really defensive about their own fatphobia. "You can't tell me how to recover!" was an overwhelming current in the thread. To this I replied, "fuck that".

Let's be honest, you don't get to recover on my back, on my life. Fat people are excluded from every eating disorder conversation, recovery program, and resource for ED patients. We're almost always excluded from ED recovery blogs or posts or tumblr memes. Even the picture that I found for my own facebook ED group for fat people doesn't have any body that looks like mine, is as fat or rolly as mine. Being able to get treatment and help and find resources for your eating disorder is a part of thin privilege because when I talked about my eating disorder I was congratulated! Thin privilege is having people recognize and be horrified at the way you're harming yourself instead of wondering what you did so they can do it too. Thin privilege is surviving an eating disorder because fat people end up dead before anyone says something was wrong and, even then, admitting that what fat people do in the name of thinness is fucked up is rarely recognized.

Let me tell you something, you aren't entitled to your recovery when it costs me my life. When you're stepping me and people like me to climb that mountain isn't recovery, it's oppression. You aren't entitled to the resources that we're not allowed to have. If you think you're allowed to hang on to your bigotry because it soothes you then fuck you.

I wanted to include a list of resources that were specifically fat friendly ED resources at the end of this post. Unfortunately, other than the facebook group mentioned at the beginning of this post, I couldn't find anything. If you have a resource, please post it in the comments!

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