Warning: This post contains an image that some recovery warriors may find triggering.
Eating disorders have been in the news more in the last week, than, probably since Mary Kate Olsen appeared on SNL back in the early 2000s.
And, interestingly enough, I’m not talking about the fact that it’s the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness week today. And in case you’re new here…let me just tell you — I’m not a fan of #NEDAwareness Week, and how it’s become this gross competition of before and after photos on Social Media of “who was sicker.” It frankly makes my skin crawl.
But I digress.
I was doing an interview on Friday about BBB, and the woman asked me if I had heard of a specific YouTuber. (I am choosing to not outright name this young woman, out of respect, and just — having been there.) But the interviewer asked if I believed this YouTuber was suffering from anorexia. And, feeling really old, and not hip/current, I admitted that I had never heard this YouTuber’s name before. So I did some research.
This YouTuber has been absolutely flooding pop culture news in the last week, with swirling speculations that she has anorexia. And, even though she has millions – yes, millions – of subscribers, she’s in the headlines right now, because she didn’t post for a week, and people thought she died. From anorexia.
And, allow me to pause here. Back a couple years ago, one of my readers passed away from anorexia. She was a precious, sweet girl that I had gotten to know, through this blog, and – as does happen with anorexia – the heart cannot maintain the stress of being so malnourished and depleted, and as a muscle – it shuts down. Which is why anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. But as tragic and heartbreaking as that is – it actually happens.
But going home that day, and researching this YouTuber — I was just completely aghast.
My heart shattered in a million pieces, seeing her. I saw her, and I saw myself. Seeing her frightfully skeletal body, I knew how extremely sick she was, and at death’s door – just as I was at 78 pounds.
I could only stomach about 45 seconds of one of her videos, but it was absolutely evident to me – crystal clear as the nose on my face – that she was using these YouTube videos as her way of “body checking.” Or, for anyone not familiar with ED-recovery lingo, that means scrutinizing your body for any weight gain/loss through either visual pictures or specific clothing or other physical measurements. But she was taking videos of clothing try on-hauls, or posing in front of the mirror, or talking to the camera, or you name it – getting millions of views.
And the YouTube community has grown incredibly vocal in their concern for this girl. People are calling the cops on her, as a danger to herself.
People are questioning where are her parents, allowing her to continue on like this. People are scared that, in her absence, she has died.
I just pray that she gets help. She’s over eighteen, so her parents cannot force her to go to inpatient. Which, if you know my story, is the same situation I was in. My family staged an intervention, which -praise God- got through to me, but they were poised and ready to take drastic measures, had that not worked.
My question is this: Where is YouTube on this?
I am shocked – disgusted – enraged! – that YouTube has not pulled her channel down. The fact that they’ve allowed this girl to document her wasting away — she’s documenting her death, let’s call it what it is — is disgusting. Not only is she making tens of thousands of dollars per video — that her mother helps film, by the way — but her emaciated state is SO HARMFUL to influential girls.
YouTube is so, utterly, negligent letting this go on. Her behavior is a detriment not only to herself, but to the millions of people watching her channel.
And this, happening at the onset of #NEDAwareness Week – it is so illuminating at NEDA’s inept concept of this week, trying to highlight eating disorders.
You tell me: Their motto: “Come As You Are” – with six, smiling, healthy – full figured – 50/50 boy-to-girl ratio, positively beaming from ear-to-ear …. does that accurately depict awareness about an eating disorder?
Because those people don’t have eating disorders.
And look – I get it. There are a lot of eating disorders that you can’t see from the outside. Unlike anorexia, where the girl or boy is literally a walking skeleton, binge eating disorder is not something you can always see. (And yet is just as deserving of recovery.)
But this YouTuber? That is an eating disorder. That is anorexia.
And people seeing that — seeing what an eating disorder truly is — there is uproar. There is shock and people are up in arms asking, WHY IS NO ONE STEPPING IN TO SAVE THIS DYING GIRL’S LIFE!
And that’s where NEDA has completely missed the mark with “Come As You Are.”
Look, I get it — “inclusivity” is the buzziest of the buzz words right now with Oscar season, and people’s hyper awareness about the 72 genders we all apparently can choose from. But when it comes to eating disorders – the body doesn’t see gender. Or religion. Or ethnicity. Or number of YouTube subscribers.
It sees food.
And you know what? The people who are the most sick – who need the most help, because they are trapped and enslaved so deeply to their eating disorder like me — who was adamantly unwilling to get help, and my parents had to threaten turning me over to be a ward of the state to get me to go to treatment as a harm to myself. Or like this YouTuber who is literally dying on YouTube for millions to see — THAT DEGREE OF SICKNESS — they cannot and will not “come as they are.” And in fact, if left to “come when they are ready” — you can start digging their grave, because that is what an eating disorder is.
Sorry — I’m really passionate about this.
Come as you are — no. Sometimes, you need someone to force you there.
It’s called tough love. It’s called saving you from yourself.
Thank God my family did. At the time, was I the most livid I ever was/will be? You bet you a$$. I was so fiercely furious I couldn’t see straight. But that’s what needed to be done.
Because I couldn’t “come as I was.”
And neither can our YouTube star.
And her subscribers know it. They know that she cannot “come as she is.” And they’re calling for someone – anyone — her parents, the police, YouTube itself — to step in and save her from herself.
So let’s just take a minute here to pray for this dear, sweet, girl, that she is getting the help that she so desperately needs. And that she is surrounded by love and support, and that she knows that she is worth recovery. She is worth a life that is free from the fear and enslavement that she knows right now in her disease.
And that she has a literal family of millions who are behind her, and want her to get well. That they are there — and I am there — to support her and cheer her on, as she reclaims her life.
YouTube: – it’s time to take her channel down. For the love of all things good – you are hurting so so SO many young, impressionable girls by having those severely disturbing images/videos up on your platform. T
And not only that, (Please God) when she does recover, it will be the absolute last thing she needs than to have those images of her at her most sick circulating the internet for the world to gawk and gasp at.
YouTube: you have a responsibility here.
And NEDA: just…do better. It’s almost as if you’re run by a bunch of people who have never had an eating disorder before. Oh wait…
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Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
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