I’ve been watching a lot of vlogs on youtube in the last few days. I’ve never really got into it before but now I’m recognising people and working out where they fit in. I am quite surprised how kind people are to each other. There is a lot of support and not that much flaming or hate comments.
There are a lot of people with eating disorders on youtube and at least some of them are finding support in seeing other people like them. The pro-anas get so much criticism which I think is unfair. It is exceptionally lonely to have a mental illness of whatever kind. That is very painful. Eating disorders aren’t about “how do I stop eating?” they’re about feeling fucking miserable and trying to find a way to deal with that. You can’t teach someone to pathologically restrict their calorie intake and obsessively exercise to the degree that they become emaciated. There has to be something very wrong underneath the eating problems to drive someone that far.
It is true that the pro-anas swap ‘tips’ on how to hide their eating disorders. But what the fuck do you think they talk about with each other in the psychiatric outpatients waiting rooms? Or in group therapy? Or in psychiatric wards? It isn’t just on websites. And it certainly isn’t just people who have eating disorders that swap ‘tips’. There are suicide tips on alt.suicide.holiday which has been going for well over a decade. Addicts have been known to sell each other drugs. Etc, etc, etc.
Perhaps it is unfair to expect people who haven’t had a mental illness to understand the comfort there is in talking so frankly about the overwhelming thoughts in your head. In which case, don’t fucking talk about things you don’t fucking understand.