Just One Bite: Letting Ana Go

IMG_6578.JPG*Trigger Warning* 30 million people. That’s about the number of people in the United States alone who will suffer from an eating disorder as some point in their life. Two thirds of that number is female. As you can see, anorexia is not just some far-off concept. It’s here, and it’s real. In fact, four out of ten people either suffer from an eating disorder or know someone affected by it. I am a former rhythmic gymnast and a current aspiring ballerina, both worlds in which skinniness is important. I’ve seen first-hand how devastating these eating disorders can be: I’ve personally known at least two people clinically diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. So for today’s Mental Health Monday, I’m going to be talking about an especially important read for me.

She had everything she needed: including a good family. Somehow, though, she always felt like she wasn’t good enough. Like she couldn’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Like she could never change anything. When everything falls apart, she turns to the one thing she can control: her eating. The less she eats, the better she feels. Soon enough, though, she’ll start to test the limits of how far is too far.

I personally have never experienced an eating disorder, but the events and feelings expressed in this book seemed very real to me. One of the parts that especially stuck out to me was when Jill’s mom kept urging both the main character and Jill to keep cutting calories. I think this was one of the main triggers, and it was heartbreaking because with both of the cases I know of, a parental figure did indeed encourage the child to watch what they were eating and count calories, which is in many cases the beginning of a downward spiral. I actually felt like I understood most of the main character’s feelings and where she was coming from. The book was paced quite well, although there were a few portions that could have been a little bit faster. All in all, this book had quite a few heartbreaking sections, but I think it’s especially important to read these kinds of books if you can. Knowledge is important, and it may very well to be up to you to help a loved one someday. You just really never know.

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