Overcoming an eating disorder is a hard thing to do.
I am beyond blessed to have been given the right opportunity to recover and to have so much support on my side. I want to see the day where everyone suffering is given the same amount of support…the same opportunity to be whole again.
As I have been crafting away on my living room floor I have had the television on as noise in the background. Every now and then I’d look up and see what was making all the noise, and then I’d continue to my work. Last week I had noticed a preview for a new television show called Starving Secrets on Lifetime, a sort of documentary featuring Tracey Gold helping people who suffer from eating disorders get treatment. Of course I was more than interested in seeing what this show was all about, so I set my DVR to tape the first episode. I watched it in full last night and was pretty much…
Before I express my disappointment, I do want to clarify that I totally respect Tracey Gold’s mission on the show and the participants efforts and willingness to share their stories. Tracey, having previously suffered herself from an eating disorder, comes across as truly caring and wanting help for these girls…which is essentially how I would like to come across here on my blog and once I am a nurse. And the girls…it was more than sad to see how much they were suffering and had suffered, but inspiring to see that they wanted a change and were willing to put in the work. I commend anyone who is also willing to put themselves out there, tell their story even though it can feel embarrassing for shameful (although it shouldn’t be), and hopefully help someone else in the process. They are true stories that the other side of an eating disorder…being well again…is completely worth it.
I started watching the show a few days ago, and after only a fourth of the way in I turned it off feeling disappointed. At that time I wasn’t quite sure why I felt this way, but I didn’t have the desire to finish. After some time I realized that I wasn’t a fan of how the show came across. Instead of truly sharing these girls’ stories and educating the viewer on eating disorders, the show was set up to be shocking. There were several images flashed on the screen of emaciated girls, ribs protruding in someone’s back, a girl hunched over a toilet seat, ect. These images were only there for a shock effect. The viewer does not need to see these images to understand that an eating disorder is dangerous.
The images were unsettling.
I decided to finish the episode last night before I went to bed, only to further my disappointment. One of the very few scenes of one of the girls actually in treatment showed her stepping on the scale, and then with very daunting music her weight was displayed on the television screen.
Again, I respect the girls involved in the show for willingness to share their stories. I really, really do. I’m not disappointed that she was weighed in treatment. That is obviously something the the doctors and people involved in her care needed to know. But, when it can be said that one in four girls suffer from some kind of disordered eating, and millions of people watched this television show, and a number is one of the most triggering parts of an eating disorder, I think there is a great problem.
They showed a number.
I do think that there should be educational television shows that people would want to watch regarding eating disorders. It is too often looked at as embarrassing or shameful when it is a true disease, just like any other disease. It should be taught, it should be talked about, and treatment should be supported…in a healthy and un-triggering way for everyone.