I remember when my therapist asked me, “Have you ever suffered from an eating disorder?” This therapist made me think back to my younger days. The reasons why I’m seeing a therapist & psychologist is because I suffer from Social and Generalized Anxiety, Borderline, Bipolar I, PTSD, and Trichotillomania. I didn’t have an easy childhood or teenage life. I suffered from a lot of trauma. Maybe my prior posts are incredibly naive and insensitive. Back to the point.
I told my therapist, yes, I did suffer from an eating disorder. I also suffer from avoidant eating disorder, bullemia, and anorexia. I’m still suffering from avoidant eating disorder. It didn’t dawn on me that’s what it is. I was labeled as a “picky” eater. No, I just don’t like the taste of certain foods in my mouth. I avoid mayo at all costs. Then it dawns on me that my middle son also suffers from anxiety and avoidant eating disorder. I didn’t know such a term existed until now. He is often called a “picky” eater. He excludes a lot of food from his diet. Spreading awareness to this new disorder has made me pick up the phone for him. When you don’t know, you don’t know. I remember my parents begging me to eat when I was really little. The food just didn’t taste right in my mouth, so I avoided those foods. My middle son is doing the same thing. This is a time to get educated.
I had to think back to a time. Yes, I do remember eating a ton of food, just to throw it back up. It was a way for me to have control. I remember suffering from the ages of 10 to 20. I still battle not eating today. That’s also a Borderline trait. Food issues is a huge part of Borderline and Anxiety.
I take back all the ignorant things, I’ve said about fiction. As a writer, it is your moral obligation to do careful research when writing about eating disorders. When an author fails to show and lets a marginalized group down by generalizations and stupid anecdotes; Houston, we have a problem. We’ve had enough of women vs women. Stop writing that shit. Stop pitting us against each other. Fuck you, if you write shit to tear each other down. I’ve had enough of these stupid Mommy Wars. I’ve had enough of “those girls.” Or, “those girls are ugly/pretty,” when the prose is by a feminine main character. Come on, now! We can do better than that! It’s 2017! Quit it with the nonsense! Bullying won’t stop unless you stop writing about this shit, like it’s okay. It isn’t okay!
My main character takes it from one extreme to another. Yes, I’ll be writing about anorexia. It is my moral obligation to showcase what that character goes through. First, she over-eats, and then she loses all her weight and turns anorexic. It is my other characters’ jobs to point it out for her. “Hey, I think you need help. It’s okay to ask for help.”
This particular reviewer read the entire book on “Sad Perfect,” by Stephanie Elliot. She took pictures and included quotes on why this book is harmful. Not to just the YA crowd, but to the adults as well. Here I am, stuck at a crossroads. This reviewer gave me my “STFU” juice. Yes, this author is an idiot. But do we need to censor her book? No, she’s entitled to write “said” book. Even when it can potentially damage the youth and adults. The best that we can do is say, “don’t buy” this book. Let that author remain ignorant. Let it hurt her in her pocketbook. Before you jump my case, let me explain. There are over 10 million books in circulation. Those books also contain generalizations. To pull this one, you have to pull all of them. That means Harry Potter, should be pulled for child abuse; Twilight should be pulled for stalker issues, abuse (mental), etc… Fifty Shades should be pulled for mental abuse, abuse, and destruction to the BDSM community; Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, should be pulled for domestic abuse, and murder; Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Sallinger, should be pulled for child abandonment and parental neglect. George R.R. Martin, should be pulled for incest, abuse, and rape. The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon, should be pulled for spousal abuse and rape. Do you see where I’m going with this? There are going to be books or have been books out there that have promoted some form of abuse. All we can do is get educated. Avoid those books. If it triggers you, avoid those books.
A lot of those books, the fiction crowd has them. All we can do is spread awareness about the book. Tell your friends in school, college, or job setting. This author will get the message. We can also write letters to her publisher to pull it. I doubt it will be successful. Drawing attention to a book; especially, if it’s bad publicity, will normally increase sales for that book. You don’t want to go on a rampage against that book. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Look at Trump. He still won the election. You fight with brains; not by harassing an ignorant author.
Ms. Elliot failed everyone. She failed the mental health community. She is ignorant by making statements. “Just eat.” Honey, it doesn’t work that way! And why did she put this in her book, “The crazy house. The place where “crazy” people go? Thanks for spreading more stigma against the mental health community! We are trying to stop the stigma, and you’ve created more stereotypes and stigma, against the entire mental health community. She had a moral obligation and she failed everyone.
Her book has done one thing for me. It’s made me rake my own book over the coals. Will I need to be careful with my own books? Yes. Do I need to be careful with in respect to eating disorders, my main character suffers from? Yes. Is it my moral obligation to tread lightly and remain sensitive to those suffering from mental health disorders? Yes! Jeannie says right off the bat, “I have PTSD.” And you see her PTSD come into play in book 3. It is my job to get that character the help she needs with sensitivity. Which character is going to point it out for her? Ian. He’s my go-to character. He knows something isn’t right about her. He will do it with the utmost sensitivity. Rosalie suffers from Bipolar I. Ember suffers from social anxiety. I gave them my traits, so yes, my books are “owned.” I’m adding eating disorders to Jeannie.
So, thank you, Stephanie Elliot. Thank you for making me re-examine my own books. Even though, my books are “owned.” When we say “owned,” it means that I suffer, and still suffer from mental health issues and physical issues. It doesn’t go away. It is a constant battle. And because of my constant battles, I’ve opted out of reading this book. Here is an intelligent and insightful review on why we should all avoid “Sad Perfect,” by Stephanie Elliot. “Sad Perfect,” by Stephanie Elliot
To Stephanie, you wrote it, live with it. We, as the consumer, don’t have to buy your book. My advice is to take it off the market and fix your book. You have the moral obligation to do right, by the mental health community. You have the moral obligation, to realize your book does more harm than good. And because you could hurt someone like me. If this book was published when I was in bad shape back in the 90’s, it would have hurt me. Luckily, for me, I’m still in a lifetime of therapy. But there are still a ton of people who aren’t getting the help they need. Whether there are financial issues, insurance problems, peer pressure, or denial from parents to seek the help/therapy they need. “Just eat,” and “get over it,” doesn’t work for people who suffer from mental health issues.
I’m stable for now. I don’t need a book to tell me, I’m “crazy.” I get that all the time. That’s nothing new to me. But it has the potential to hurt a young girl/boy (eating disorders do happen to men & young boys ). Even when I think I’m at my strongest; something like this could hurt me. Someone, who thinks they’re over their eating disorders, but they haven’t fully healed from those disorders. Maybe we need to step back and realize the harm we could do as writers and authors. Thanks for my reality check. I needed a boot up my ass.