The Media's Manipulations are Toxic to Our Society
By: Allyson Przekora (@allyson_marie)
Content warning: eating disorders, self-harm, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts
By using manipulated photos of high society, the media has influenced many people to struggle with body issues. Body issues that can turn your world upside down as mine did in 2012. Negative phrases in the media about celebrities bodies became the basis for the insults I would give myself, as do many other people all over the world. I, like many others, turned to the internet for the fastest ways to lose weight. Thousands of articles sprung up at my fingertips, as I devoured the information on what was purging and how to reduce meals.
The act of binging and purging seems extremely odd for the general public, but as an eating disorder victim who suffered from depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts; the process took almost no effort to rationalize. For the following two years, this became a daily pattern. Wake up, look at starving models or anorexic girls. Tell myself that I was huge and disgusting. Sit down with my family and eat breakfast. Realize that I had eaten, run and attempt to cut the fat off myself with knives or blades. In the cycle of self-destruction, the purging became too much when blood came up with every meal, snack, or nibble. Then on I simply didn't eat. No more than an apple a day, only Diet Coke and water. Going as long as possible without eating, which would ultimately end up being 5-8 days at a time.
The constant anxieties from hiding my secret tore me down and down again. The glamorous theories about eating disorders I had dreamt, never did come right. The quiet purging in a restroom then walks out glowing. The twisted reality was nearly vomiting from the stench of a public toilet alone, the heaving of crying and choking, the disgust you feel for yourself as you wash your hands and face from the splatter. The exciting day where I stepped on the scale, delicate and happy with my appearance, it never came. The constant dissatisfaction, hate, and disgust were all you feel. The little cuts you made at the beginning are cover by hundreds of thicker, deeper, more painful scars. The depression fairy tale that you'll meet someone who will save you, kiss your scars and praise your beauty quickly faded as you realize within four years time you've taken a blade to every part of your body, where ever you could hide it.
Eventually saying "f**k it" and cutting where people could see if they grabbed your sleeve or saw you change. You realize that all the fantasies in your head about your illnesses are lies that your disorders feed you. Suddenly, the stupid little diet that you told yourself "wasn't a big deal" has landed you in a psychiatric hospital, listening to the shrieks from other girls as the detox from cocaine and various other drugs. I could sit back and laugh telling myself I didn't belong here, that I was not crazy or sick, but then have a complete psychotic break when asked to have rice or grits.
You never quite realize the true extent of your illness until it smacks you in the face with the fact that if you lose a single pound more that you'll be sent to live in a hospital for months, even years. The way that social media had glamorized my diseases has to lead many people down dark paths, ones that I wanted to get out of my life. But in the face of recovery, you come to a crossroad. Either you turn and go back into the circle of destruction until death finds you, or continue walking ahead to brighter and better things to come.