Biting Anorexia

About: "So begins this extraordinary account of a teenage girl's descent into the tortured existence of anorexia and her arduous, remarkable recovery. Much of this unflinchingly candid memoir is ripped directly from the pages of author Lucy Howard-Taylor's diary as she struggled with the torturous condition. Offering a rare glimpse into the thoughts and fears that grip the minds of those struggling with anorexia, the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses. Tinged with a wicked sense of humor, Lucy's beautifully written, penetrating insights capture the overpowering anxiety that comes with anorexia and reveal the challenge of recovery. This courageous and compelling story will inspire and support those troubled with the condition, and their family and friends, the world over."

This might sound like a strange book to read, but it's not so much about anorexia as it is the story of a person who overcame a personal challenge, in this case, an eating disorder. Like many other women, I have always found anorexia very interesting and very sad. I truly am not capable of starving myself and so I am that much more fascinated by people who willingly choose to not eat. I started this book a year or so ago and put it down because it came across as too depressing initially. Recently, I gave it another chance and found that I actually really, really enjoyed it. Lucy, the author, is obviously brilliant and incredibly funny. I enjoyed her writing style, her willingness to be so incredibly open about her life and that she was able to use this book to so clearly help other people understand what it is like to suffer from anorexia. I've read a lot about the topic, but for the first time I actually feel like I understand it after reading her candid memoir. She gave an amazing description of what an eating disorder really is, and darn it all I can't find the passage to save my life. So I guess that is just more incentive for you to read the book - to find this enlightening description. Basically, it comes down to the belief that fat=failure. To them not eating and losing weight is not so much about vanity, but more about not failing. In their minds, anorexics can gain control and feel accomplished by exercising great self discipline to lower their weight to their desired goal and therefore "succeed."


Page 7, "I was going to save the world. I was going to work for the UN. I was going to be the High Commissioner for Human Rights, nay, the Secretary General. I was going to act and write and spread the awful truth of animal cruelty and factory farming. I was going to be a diplomat and one of the judges on the International Court of Justice. I was going to study at Oxford, teach in Africa, and volunteer in Romania. I was going to be an aid worker in my spare time. I would 'succeed.'" I like this quote because this is how I felt at her age in high school. I wanted to do everything!

Page 14, "There was a girl standing near me who would not stop sniveling and spluttering and looking aggrieved. Every time someone so much as looked her way, she'd start up again. By the end I was so annoyed I felt like either asking her to sponsor Kleenex or giving her a good kick." This gives you a feel for her sense of humor.

Page 62, “’Fat’ is just a feeling, so it has no relevance to reality whatsoever. As my psychiatrist would explain to a hysterically defiant me, time and time again, you can’t feel fat. It’s a physical substance, not a mental state. The idea of ‘feeling fat’ is just symbolic of the underlying feelings. I finally realized what I was feeling: unmanageable, bloated, queasy, confused, fearful, worthless, unhappy, distended, and lonely. And somehow my brain translated all that into one easy for: FAT. Just like my brain had superimposed all the darker issues on each other, and labeled the stack: WEIGHT. Worry about weight. Not social inadequacy. Anorexia: A wonderful way to calcify al your problems without touching them once! It took me a while to believe her, needless to say.” What an interesting way to view feeling "fat."

Page 105,”My brain is sticky-taped together with chemicals. I forget how dependent I am on them until I forget to take them.”

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