At first, my girlfriend’s refusal to eat seemed nothing strange to me. Of a petite frame since the moment I met her, I believed this was something she’d do now and again as a way to remain skinny. As I was having lunch one afternoon and offered her some, she declined, stating that she was too fat for food. After my initial reaction of “that’s not a very good joke, ha ha” slowly gave way to the realization that the girl actually believed she was fifty pounds heavier than she was, I got mad.
Yes dear reader, I got mad at her because I was not a very good person back then, but as much as it shames me to admit it, I am telling the truth here.We argued for a good while after that, because for the life of me I could not comprehend how she possibly saw herself as anything other than she was-an absolutely beautiful, healthy and happy woman.
Eventually, she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with anorexia.
I started to read any and all information on the eating disorder, from “can she die from this?”, to “can she be cured?” The answer, in case you are curious, is yes to both accounts.
I have trouble putting into words the frustration I felt every time I talked to her about eating, for each and every time she shot me down. The girl I loved was starving herself to death right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do about it.
One night, we walked from our place to the pizza joint a couple of blocks up the street. During the entire fifteen to twenty minute walk, we held hands as we contemplated the stars above us, laughed, kissed and talked about what we were going to do when we got out of that place. When we finally got back home, she had four slices of pizza. It was the first time in over a year that I had seen her eat so much and so heartily.
“I love you”, I said. “I love you”, she replied. She was happy. I was too.
While I do not know what the cure for anorexia is, I do know this: if there is one emotion that comes in handy during this trial, its love. Love works. Forget frustration or sadness; love is the gateway to the heart, which in turn has the power to cleanse the mind. I am not advocating that love is the ideal treatment for eating disorders, and medical assistance should undoubtedly be asked for out at the earliest convenience. But, in the midst of all the madness of this horrendous disorder, never forget the restorative power of love.