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Go on & Rubber-neck
July 10, 2003 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Blogs For the Morbidly Inclined :

i am sixteen and weigh ninety-eight pounds, but rather be ninety or less. will i gain more weight if i stop eating altogether for a few weeks? can anyone help me?

- Pro Anorexia Blog

We had a plane crash today. A small two-engine plane crashed into a pond killing three people inside. The pilot's face was pretty much nonexistant, which is mostly due to the trauma. However, the investigators did have to fight the turtles in order to collect the body. They ate the eyes and were in the process of "giving kisses" to what was left of the face.

- Autopsy Blog
posted by dgaicun (31 comments total)

 
Jesus H., the pro anorexia blog is the saddest thing I think I've ever read. I used to have a girlfriend who for a time was bulemic; this is like a pipeline into such a person's thought process.
posted by kgasmart at 6:28 AM on July 10, 2003


What kgasmart says. I can understand setting up a support group for people that are trying kick bulimia and/or anorexia... but this one seems only to encourage it.

I also had a girlfriend who was an ex-bulimic. She told me that when she saw watched those biopics on Karen Carpenter, rather than being shocked by the effects of her disease... she used Karen as a source of tips and tricks to push forward her own affliction. This kind of site doesn't help anyone.
posted by psmealey at 6:49 AM on July 10, 2003


I knew I'd seen this link before, but the pro-ana phenomena is too important (and dangerous) to dismiss as a double-post.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:57 AM on July 10, 2003


It might be a coincidence, but I started taking a multi-vitamin last month and a few days ago, for the first time in 3 months, I got my period.

Well, I guess congrats are in order.
Let me add to the trend developing here, that Anorexia site is disturbing.
I agree with you kgasmart, a sad insight into some distorted thought.
posted by a3matrix at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2003


The pro-anorexia site is a pretty creepy glimpse into the psyche of some very disturbed young ladies. It reminds me of a pro AIDS site, complete with tips on how best to becoma HIV positive, I recently came across.

Anyway, you have to wonder about anyone who asks, "will i gain more weight if i stop eating altogether for a few weeks?"
posted by cedar at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2003


Gotta insert a huzzah for the autopsy blog before the anorexia discussion reaches full speed. Fascinating material there, though it hasn't been around for very long.
posted by furiousthought at 7:10 AM on July 10, 2003


All I can say is, please do not bust into the comment section and berate these people. They're not doing it for anybody else but themselves, and you won't convince them to stop through a few mean words. Your opinion has ceased to matter to them. All you will do is make them more insular, and externalize an enemy.

They need face to face help, and realizations that might take a long time in the making.

That being said, this blog is the equivalent of sitting in your living room and watching a train derail across your neighbor's yard.
posted by jon_kill at 7:12 AM on July 10, 2003


At risk of being once again told how maladjusted I am, is the anorexia blog really different than the never ending stream of "I'm fat but I'm healthy" and "BMI and ideal weights are crap" that come out here every time weight is discussed?
posted by shagoth at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2003


I really liked the autopsy blog, too. His list of cases and accidents is sobering, and I enjoyed his comparison of CSI to the real world.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:33 AM on July 10, 2003


A third cheer for the autopsy blog. I ? autopsies!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:36 AM on July 10, 2003


...and I ♣ the MeFi DataPunisher database app.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:37 AM on July 10, 2003


You club the database app?
posted by mikrophon at 8:15 AM on July 10, 2003


Who needs anorexia when you could have CANCER!
Pro Cancer

Cancer is a great way to lose weight! I'm sure your hair weighs at least a pound or 2.
posted by LinemanBear at 8:37 AM on July 10, 2003


can anyone help me?

Yeah, open a vein. And, before you do, give that food you don't want to eat to someone who does want to eat it -- like homeless people!

Only in North America can we have people dying due to hunger and homelessness, while the middle / upper-class willingly starves themselves. And I actually have to explain why I'm so F'ing cynical!
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2003


At risk of being once again told how maladjusted I am, is the anorexia blog really different than the never ending stream of "I'm fat but I'm healthy" and "BMI and ideal weights are crap" that come out here every time weight is discussed?
Yes. An anorexic in this position is not the equivalent of the 5"4, 250 pound woman who claims to be "fat and healthy", but of the 500lb shut in who can no longer leave the house.

There's a matter of scale here. The people whose fatness you like to malign have some immediate discomfort, and are letting themselves in for some serious long term health issues. People who are starving themselves to the point where they're losing muscle mass from their heart are looking at a good chance of keeling over dead real soon now.

This is why anorexics are, on occasion, forcibly committed and IV fed, whereas the clinically obese are never forcibly committed and stomach-stapled.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:58 AM on July 10, 2003


shagoth - I'd say the difference was that I've never noted anyone here actively encouraging other people to become morbidly obese. Which would have to be the case if you were going to have a point.
posted by arha at 9:06 AM on July 10, 2003


I have to wonder about the autopsy blog. Some pretty specific details are given and I'm wondering if the new HIPPA laws are being broken. It's one reason you don't see me having a nursing blog . . .
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 9:12 AM on July 10, 2003


Sorry, HIPAA. It has to do with patient confidentiality (and other things). He is giving a lot of detail with the autopsy blog, to the point that people might be able to figure out who his patients/cases are.
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2003


Only in North America can we have people dying due to hunger and homelessness, while the middle / upper-class willingly starves themselves.

I feel I need to point out that anorexia is definitely not just a rich people problem. There has been a lot of work pointing to anorexia as a means of empowerment for women who can otherwise control little of their lives, particularly in the working class. For a multiracial/multiclass look, check out A Hunger So Wide and Deep by Becky Thompson. It makes you think that eating disorders aren't all bad.
posted by emyd at 9:35 AM on July 10, 2003


Sorry, I can't get past Karmakaze saying "There's a matter of scale here." Very punny.
posted by JanetLand at 9:54 AM on July 10, 2003


That anorexia blog is one of the saddest things I've ever read. Does anyone know what mia stands for?
posted by widdershins at 10:03 AM on July 10, 2003


RunsWithBandageScissors:

If the autopsy stories come from a coroner's office then many of the cases will be public record which pretty well eliminates teh HiPAA issues.

arha and Karmakaze:

Sell destructive health behavior isn't different because of a matter of scale. There's more than enough literature to suggest that over the long term overweight is more than a little destructive and that "fat and healthy" is an temporary illusion. On the fringes of "normal" weight, there's much less solid medical literature but it's likely that 5-10% up or down is far less dangerous than where so many people seem to live. I'll grant that the anorexia blog is total extremism and representative of dangerous health behavior but bashing "health nazi's" while congratulating one's own form for it's temporarily normal blood pressure and blood sugar is the other.
posted by shagoth at 10:05 AM on July 10, 2003


As far as anorexia goes, starving oneself changes the brain chemistry thus causing the anorexia to become involuntary. Once you get some calories into these folk it is much easier for them to think about actually eating something.
posted by konolia at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2003


"Does anyone know what mia stands for?"

In the context of the page, I'd guess it's short for bulimia.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2003


"Mia" refers to bulimia. "Ana" refers to anorexia. "My friend Mia." "My friend Ana." That sort of thing.
posted by JanetLand at 10:10 AM on July 10, 2003


Ah. Guess I should have figured that one out. Thx, crash & Janet.

From the autopsy blog: 7 week old baby yesterday. Mother tripped and crushed the babies soft skull. That has got to be one of the scariest things I've ever read.

Thank you for 2 engrossing links, dgaicun.
posted by widdershins at 10:18 AM on July 10, 2003


Self destructive health behavior isn't different because of a matter of scale.
Why not? Nothing you posted backed up that statement. Take down your straw man and respond to what was actually said.

I never once defended the idea of "fat and healthy". In fact, I pointed out that they are " letting themselves in for some serious long term health issues" (exact quote).

I said that there is a difference between something that something that is likely to kill you in a matter of months and something that is likely to kill you in a matter of decades. Quoting data about long term effects does not make that untrue.

By your argument there is no difference between a pack a day smoker and someone who shoots up heroin on the hour. Both have short and long term health problems, but one of those people is in a lot more immediate peril.

Both clinical obesity and anorexia are food-related disorders. Both are not healthy. But they are not the same disorder, nor do they have the same effects (although it is possible to be both obese and bulimic).
posted by Karmakaze at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2003


arha - There is a whole subset of people who encourage others to become morbidly obese. They're called "Feeders". This last week, looking for diet sites, I've come across a bunch of Feeder and Pro-ana stuff. And yeah, it is like watching a train wreck (which, actually, I did see a train wreck first hand 2 weeks ago, and it really and truly was hard to look away [nobody was hurt, I'm not that weird]).
posted by Addlepated at 2:56 PM on July 10, 2003


- There is a whole subset of people who encourage others to become morbidly obese. They're called "Feeders".

I thought they were called "McDonald's".
posted by loafingcactus at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2003


For what it's worth -

I've been in close contact with an 'ana' adherent - and over the last 18 years I've seen what it's done to her. At first she was 'empowered', in a life that she felt she had very little control over. She would have a quail egg and a measured tablespoon of sprouts for breakfast, with a quarter-teaspoon of fat-free dressing. She wouldn't drink water, because it would make her gain weight - but couldn't understand the kidney problems she kept having. Over the years, she got her weight down to 80 lbs at 5'2", (and she had breast implants, but kept feeling she was fat because she'd look down and see these two big blobs on her chest. And they did look like the stereotypical water balloons on a popsicle stick.) but kept thinking if she could just shed another five pounds she'd be perfect.

Finally, I talked her into going to therapy. Her weight varied by about 10 lbs over the next few years, and she started developing signs of manic depression. Now, at 38, she's functional about two days out of five. She's gone through menopause, has problems with osteoporosis and tremors, bruises at a touch, and her hair (she was a natural redhead) is prematurely grey. Her arms and legs are matchstick thin, and she can't lift anything over about 10 lbs.

Then I see that blog - and I could weep. They have no idea of what they're in for if they continue that way. I read a few comments, it it was like 18 years ago, listening to her tell me she was so fat and nobody would ever really love her if she didn't lose weight...
posted by JB71 at 7:46 AM on July 12, 2003


I've been in close contact with an 'ana' adherent - and over the last 18 years I've seen what it's done to her

it's worth noting that it is extremely plausible that anorexia is a symptom of the mental illness, rather than the mental illness being the result of her diet. I know someone who was put on anti-anxiety meds for her eating disorder, and it worked.

In contrast to Karmakaze, I'm not sure the health risks for anorexics are significantly more serious than those for obese people; many people live as anorexics for extended periods - they're more likely to develop osteoporosis, or heart or kidney problems, etc, later in life, but it's pretty rare that they just starve to death (of course it's possible and does happen, but I think it's been slightly overdramatized).

Of course, obesity isn't generally the result of a mental disorder - as a very general rule, people love food and don't love work, so we tend toward gaining weight by default. It's interesting that "exercise anorexia" is considered a subset of an eating disorder, as if a love for "work" was unnatural (whereas being fat isn't generally categorized as an eating disorder, just an unfortunate result of perfectly normal desires not properly kept in check).
posted by mdn at 1:47 PM on July 12, 2003


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