22 June 2017
I was hoping to save my next blog post for a really positive one about my work experience placement at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, but having seen something yesterday evening, I simply had to write this down to prevent it from circulating my mind.
Last night, as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I paused at the sight of a film trailer. I did not have the sound on, did not read the caption, but as the first second of the clip played I instantly felt slightly uneasy. A girl sat at a table, presented with a meal and the subtitles popped up ‘280 for the pork, 350 for the buttered noodles…’ and that was all I needed to see. In a moment, I was transported to a time where those exact calculations used to reel off in my head at each and every mealtime, referring to the mental list of ingredients and their calorie content I had filed away at one side of my brain. As the trailer progressed, my initial thought was confirmed- similarly to 13 Reasons Why, Netflix have created a film based on another tragic mental health issue, To The Bone.
I tried to stop myself from watching the entire 2:15 minute clip, but I wanted to know. I wanted to know exactly how the illness was going to be portrayed. Would it follow suit with most media representations- glamourised, insignificant, a lifestyle choice? Or would it resemble the pain, suffering and helplessness of what it is really like to suffer with the condition? Either way, I knew there would be nothing I could do about it, but I prayed that the film trailer would highlight the topic in a way that was true to life, albeit not as harrowing.
But that 2:15 minute clip was enough for me. I saw everything that I needed to see- and more. Not only did I watch many of my past behaviours, triggers and battles, but I also recalled every moment that I had to endure them. The calorie counting, the over exercising, the hospital admission, the therapy groups, the fear on my families face- I relived it all. Fortunately it did not have a lasting impact, but that was when I realised that it was too soon. I am not ready to sit and watch a film that details and exact replication of my life 2 years ago. It is too raw, too painful. Even though I am so open about my experiences and recall my journey day after day, it is somehow different. I am able to present my story truthfully, with honesty and positivity; yet watching a generalised representation of an individual’s battle with the illness and being able to identify with many of her difficulties, I am not prepared to put myself through that.
Please, do not get me wrong, I am pleased that eating disorders are becoming a topic of conversation, and I am sure that the film will highlight an array of behaviours and symptoms to raise awareness. However, I fear for the vulnerable people out there who may watch the film and misinterpret the severity of the story of what is being told. I also fear for the vulnerable individuals, such as myself, who are still in those early stages of recovery and are susceptible to the triggering content. This is why I have had to accept that this is not something I am prepared to subject myself to. I have come so far and still have a long way to go, but this is not a hurdle I am willing to position in front of myself.
I hope that some of you reading this blog post will just take a few moments to really consider your motivations for watching the film, and reflect on your own state of mind before making that choice. Why would you want to watch it anyway- I would much rather watch Bridesmaids any day!