Secrets I promised to keep.

So. An organisation dedicated to helping people with an eating disorder is being disbanded due to a lack of funding. Nothing new here. Nothing to see. Move along.

Except that bit where perfectly normal human beings are damaged by societal “norms”.

Oh. Apparently it’s a choice. People choose to be so debilitated by their self-perception that they choose to starve themselves. Or to purge. I’m not sure if you have ever done either of those things, but neither of them are fun. At all. Ever.

They do, however, deliver a sense of control to the sufferers. Where life is so terrifying, and confusing and just not comprehensible, the ability to control one thing takes on inestimable value.

Did you know that there are websites teaching people – usually kids – how to become bulimic or anorexic? How to use the damage to garner attention and then to indicate that this attention many not be enough so how to get more and more and more….?

An unprecedented percentage of kids have tried one or another if these methods to become something else. To control. To manage something.

Has your child tried it? Your niece or nephew? Your god-child? Who knows? Because of all the prevalent, disturbing and unbelievably damaging ills our health system faces, this is the one we’d rather not face.

It seems likes something a person chooses and so it must be their fault.

Sure. Blame someone for getting chicken pox too.

No-one chooses this. NO-ONE.

EDASA in SA is closing due to lack of funding. The government is not coming to the party. And they have run out of the publicly donated funds. So the people suffering something so incomprehensible to those outside the sphere of ailing influence are now lacking support.

I’m not preaching here because I’m a card-carrying member or a do-gooder. I’ve seen yet another side to this insidious disease. A corruption of societal demands and a mental requirement, eating disorders are suffered equally by all levels of society. Wanting to be perfect, plus finding a way to forge that perfection can be addictive. Despite the damage it can achieve.

And there are ever new ways of accomplishing this perverse disfunction. I’m a type one diabetic. There are ways to manipulate this disorder to add an extra level to the whole horror of the eating disorder. None of them fun. All of them potentially fatal.

This can affect anyone. The smart. The industrious. The outwardly happy. The fiendishly sad. The everyday normal. And every facet in between. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Sisters. Brothers. Friends. Enemies. People.

And the society that has been the only bastion in SA is closing due to a lack of funding. It has never been government-funded. Just an organisation offering assistance.

And it is closing. Anyone want to tell me why?

I’ve been an ear to these people in my past. They are just like you and me. Only desperately sad and struggling. It is not vanity. Never vanity, although it may have elements of wanting to be other. It is deeper and darker and more terrifying than what we generally see. It blinds. It incapacitates. It destroys families and lives. They are brilliant, outstanding people. With something they need to control. They are awesome humans, – who, like the best, are often flawed. They need help.

And who amongst us has not needed a hand at some time?

I have no vested interest here. I’m not a sufferer. Just someone who started out by giving someone a hug one day and found a universe of pain I’d never imagined. That’s all. And the failure to react here to something which is so ignored and so rampant is terrifying to me. I remember the day someone taught a group of us how to throw up a meal and conceal the evidence. How that made us better humans. I will never forget that day. And how I survived relatively unscathed. And how it messed with that group of normal, intelligent girls. It not something anyone wants. Ever.


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