Date: 2017-08-05 12:25 am (UTC)
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] loligo
I read a fascinating article last year which suggested that people with anorexia not onlyhave high anxiety (everyone knows that), but are constituted such that starvation actually reduces anxiety significantly, which feels true to my experience, and would have been a useful evolutionary adaptation in food shortage situations.

That really is a fascinating way of looking at it.

I went through a phase in grad school where I obsessively read all the current clinical literature about anorexia. (It was roughly the during the period that you summarize below, where rejection of femininity was one of the hot ideas.)

What triggered it was a chance encounter with some research study that listed the characteristics of who was most likely to develop anorexia, and I ticked pretty much all the boxes they listed -- and I became terrified it would happen to me. I was, what, maybe 23 or 24 years old and really had no insight at that point in my life as to how any kind of mental illness worked. I thought that maybe I would just wake up one day and it would *happen*, like an alien taking over my brain. What was most especially frightening to me, besides the physical danger, is that I have always found hunger to be upsetting and anxiety-provoking way out of proportion to its actual physical sensations, and I imagined that there would be a "real me" partitioned somewhere, feeling all that terror, while the alien impulse to not eat continued.

On some level, you cannot be hardcore anorexic unless you actually get some kind of pleasure out of starving

Anorexia long ago dropped way, way down my list of things to worry about; I'm almost 48 -- if it was ever going to happen, it would have happened by now. But that one sentence of yours just put that fear permanently to rest.

I don't know if it would have been reassuring in exactly the same way in my twenties, because I have so much more experience now with the interplay of physiology and mental and emotional states. But thank you for that anyway. And I'm sorry that it's something that you still need to wrestle with.
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