Letter To ‘Jane’: Clothes And Travel Won’t Cure My ED
I have spent about half of my life dealing with bipolar disorder and bulimia. I’ve been in and out of therapy and treatment, taken countless different medications, and engaged in many forms of self-destruction. It sometimes feels like a never-ending cycle, like I’m stuck in a black hole of depression and ice cream. It’s a really hard thing to deal with, especially for 12 years straight and with no sign of improvement.
So imagine how I felt when I loaded up the female-oriented website xojane today and saw an intro piece from the newly-hired galadarling, chronicling her experience with depression and an eating disorder of her own. The general theme of the article? Buy pretty clothes and jump ship to another country, all your problems will be solved. I wish it were that easy. I wish I could decline medication for my mental illness and not go completely batshit insane. I wish I could afford to medicate with clothing instead of pills. How nice it must be to be a person that can afford to go out and buy all those clothes while the rest of us plebes are struggling to pay for medications and therapy, even with health insurance.
Me, at age 14, two years into my battle with bulimia
I’ve never been Gala’s biggest fan, but this article really struck a nerve with me. She says she declined psychiatric medication because weight gain was a “known side effect,” and instead turned to EFT (emotional freedom technique). And she claims that this caused her eating disorder to vanish “practically overnight.” Um, I didn’t know eating disorders did that. Hell, it’s been 12 years and I still struggle with bulimia. It’s not that easy and it’s incredibly dangerous to assert that it is.
When you put the idea into people’s heads that they should be able to beat their eating disorder overnight, you are setting them up for failure. I’m happy for Gala that she was able to overcome her eating disorder—really, I am—but as someone who has been fighting for 12 years with no success? It makes me feel like I suck, plain and simple. She offers no words of support for those of us who struggle and struggle and struggle, and instead chooses to ignore us and our experiences.
What makes it worse is the (maybe indirect) assertion that retail therapy will help depression and poor body image. I don’t know about anyone else, but the fashion industry is one of the causes of my shitty body image. Going into stores that only carry certain sizes and trying on clothes in front of unforgiving mirrors in harsh lighting… that sounds like a blast. Yup, that’s the end of all my problems right there!
Still fighting it at age 24
I will say right now that I’m really disappointed in a publication that I’ve read and enjoyed for a number of years. Not for hiring Gala, because my distaste with her blog is my own opinion and not everyone feels that way. Rather, I’m disappointed that they would publish this article without thinking of how it would come off to their community of readers who have been very vocal about their longtime struggles with depression, eating disorders, and financial troubles. And their response? Calling the negative (and, yes, some straight-up mean) commenters “haters.” 14-year-old boys call people haters. Grown women running a public website should not be referring to people with dissenting opinions as haters. That’s incredibly dismissive of the valid concerns being discussed and it reeks of immaturity. I expected more from a website run by women I looked up to. Instead, I got an article full of privilege-denial and glitter.
Depression and eating disorders are not cured with materialism. Do not pretend like they are just to get page views.
What do you think of the way their article handled the subjects of eating disorders and depression? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Opinions stated in our editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Feminspire and its staff as a whole, but instead reflect the opinions of the writer.
Header image courtesy of galadarling.com