Taking the danger out of life’s battles
Thank you to Kelly Zentgraf for writing the piece “Raising awareness over eating disorders,” (Feb. 18, p. 4). I just wanted to add a few comments to the dialogue and point out that eating disorders and low self-esteem aren’t just dangerous when you are bulimic or anorexic. Some of us overeat and then stew in guilt for hours, never able to relax or actually enjoy ourselves. I am coming out of what I now realize has been a terrible period of self-loathing that all stems from a feeling of inferiority based on not looking like other people.
I think I’ve seemed like a pretty happy person, but the whole time, there’s been a big storm going on in my brain. There was no anorexia, no bulimia. I now realize I have been nothing but healthy, but I was extremely unhappy. In retrospect, I had a very difficult time enjoying anything as I was constantly stressed about weight. It’s not always media images that push us to feel a certain way about ourselves. Sometimes, it is just the subtle comment from a sibling, parent or friend that makes us feel like maybe we aren’t working hard enough, and if we tried harder at our chosen method, then we would succeed and be skinny, attractive and desirable.
We need to be able to talk about these things more, so we understand each others’ needs and insecurities and, in turn, understand and overcome our own. Thank you endlessly for publishing this piece. Maybe now instead of rolling our eyes at each other and blaming something else, we can ask ourselves what’s really going on, talk about it together and realize that life doesn’t have to be a series of dangerous battles.
The writer, Laura Westman, is a senior majoring in political science.
A brother’s perspective on body image
As the brother of someone with an eating disorder, I cannot thank Ms. Zentgraf enough for her bold and important piece, “Raising awareness over eating disorders.” Over the past three years, I have struggled as I have seen an eating disorder completely envelop my younger sister’s life. Never knowing what to do or how to act was one of the hardest aspects of my sister’s illness to deal with. This was especially true during mealtimes, which I came to dread; a big change for a family with Italian roots. Once I realized that the only thing I could do for my sister was to love her unconditionally and be there for her to rely on, her eating disorder became much less intimidating for me. Ms. Zentgraf’s op-ed reminds us that it is imperative that we reach out to those with eating disorders in the GW community. I thank God for her bravery in educating society on the effects of eating disorders.
The writer, Jake Wolf, is a junior majoring in religion.