Anorexia is Everywhere Every morning I see her at my local Starbucks near my office. Amidst the morning chatter of business talk, coffee grinding, and sugar packets being opened, I see her standing at the counter waiting for a refill on her Venti. “Straight black please”, she firmly says, as if the barristas already don’t […]

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Anorexia lurks in shadows                          

Anorexia is Everywhere

Every morning I see her at my local Starbucks near my office.

Amidst the morning chatter of business talk, coffee grinding, and sugar packets being opened, I see her standing at the counter waiting for a refill on her Venti. “Straight black please”, she firmly says, as if the barristas already don’t know her routine. She can barely wait for them to fill it as she stares at all the pastries, only she isn’t looking at them to buy, she is undressing them with her eyes down to every bare ingredient and sweet calorie. She is calculating in her mind how many sit-ups she will have to do tonight just for viewing them. She quickly diverts her attention back to her main mission which is fueling her stomach with something large, hot and non-caloric to way off the hunger pains for a bit.

She acts like she doesn’t notice all the stares and glares she is getting as her legs are skinnier than the legs of the tables they are sitting at. She is wearing black tights that accentuate the places where flesh used to be. She has the face of a forty year old, yet her body looks close enough to be a small child’s. It’s confusing to most because her face appears to be very normal. From the neck up she looks OK, or so they would think. I however see the swollen glands, and the puffy skin, the bloodshot eye and chapped lips.

I also see the marks on her hands where her teeth scrape every time she  probably sticks her fingers down her throat. I see the desperation in her eyes as well, but I also see that she is in her zone, and probably very much in denial.                                                                                       

I want to walk over to her, shake her, and tell her as she stuffs 20 packets of splenda into her jacket pocket, that she doesn’t have to live this way.

I want to tell her that this is no way to live, and that if she doesn’t stop it, it will never ever get better, and if it isn’t already, get a whole lot worse.

I want to tell her that she needs to add a huge bunch of milk to that coffee, because her bones are probably brittle and soft. I want to tell her to add some cream to it as well, as her hair is probably falling out due to the lack of fat in her body. I want to reach over and shove a giant bagel in her mouth and sit on her holding her nose until she swallows it. After that, I want to handcuff her, throw her in the back of my car and drive her straight to treatment.

I catch myself thinking that just a few years ago, I was her, and I too was standing in the middle of a coffee shop somewhere, stuffing blue packets of sweetener into my purse, and calling my 6 black espresso’s breakfast.

I too acted like I didn’t see all the stares, even though secretly I knew they were there, but could have cared less, as I too was in my zone. That zone of “I’m skinny, I know it, I love it, don’t fuck with me.”

That’s why I don’t walk up to her, that’s why I don’t hand her my business card and say. I know you are hungry, I know you need help,”call me”.

Somebody already said something to her, probably many times. Perhaps it was her parents, her husband, or her neighbor next door. Maybe she already has been to treatment several times, and is just out and is making up for all the decaf she lived on for 6 months.

I know, because if I was in her place, and had some random stranger walk up to me at a Starbucks saying she could help me, I would certainly have not seen it as an act of god. I would have seen it as somebody who should mind their own business, and I would also see them as a threat to my neat and folded life in hell.

That’s the sad thing about this disease, so many people will give you their hands, but you will refuse to take it, unless of course it’s handing you a straight black coffee.

I know that’s hard to hear, as so many people are sad souls in this world just waiting for somebody to come along and show them the way.  However, I know pretty darn well that, just because you are lost, doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be found. You have to finally get so sick of being where you are at, that you want out. Other people telling you that when you are knee deep in your disease just adds fuel to the fire.

You resent them, and actually get angry at them.

You actually make up excuses that you aren’t sick and that they are out of their minds.

You look down at your body and can’t possibly understand why they are alarmed, and than chalk it up to that they are jealous of you, and laugh at them as they suck on the jelly inside of their donuts.

I hope this poor lady gets it someday. I hope she finally gets sick enough of this damn disease and decides to get herself some help. I hope If I don’t see her tomorrow that will be why, and that she isn’t dead.

Can I save her, nobody really can but herself.

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Some people believe that “Change happens when you need it to”, I disagree completely, I truly believe that “Change only happens when you want it to”.

I get phone calls everyday from people who want to.

You never know maybe that a voice I get on the other end of the phone today saying “I want help” will be her. I pray that it will be.


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