When I first watched the “To The Bone” trailer I was in tears.
For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, I would highly encourage you to. Found on the Netflix Facebook, it’s a Netflix original movie starring Lily Collins. The story chronicles her as an eating disordered woman attempting to work through recovery.
I wasn’t crying because they didn’t get it right and glorified anorexia. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was crying because it was spot on.
I watched her doctor look at her spine and remark at the number of crunches she did, and I remembered doing crunches in my bed, with a few pillows underneath my back to increase the workout, because the hardwood floor got too tough for my bones.
I remember putting my fingers around my upper arm to make sure they could still connect around it.
And I can still spout off the number of calories in a piece of wheat bread (69, depending which app you’re using to monitor your body’s every function so you can make it as small as possible).
I never went to inpatient recovery, and my family didn’t find out until I was already seeking treatment on my own, so I can’t speak to those aspects. Still, the movie trailer made me quake because in Lily Collins’ character I could see my 16-year-old self so clearly.
I immediately wanted to watch the movie, but at the same time a large pit formed in my stomach.
See, I watched the show “13 Reasons Why” and thought it was great. It seemed to be showing the real complexities of battling with depression and suicide.
But then it showed the suicide itself.
I couldn’t get the image out of my head for weeks. I found it hard to eat and I slipped back into old habits. It bothered me so much because I had been in that bathtub before. I had cut my wrists hoping to end it all. I had swallowed the pills.
Hannah Baker could have been me, and seeing a close replica of my life played out on the screen for me was mind-numbing for a bit, until it started to hurt again.
I slipped into old habits and was depressed. I stopped eating. It took me weeks to feel my normal self again.
Though I’m excited for this movie, and for what seems to be an accurate portrayal of a disease that is often glorified in media but horrifying in real life, I’m also scared. Eating disorders are a constant struggle for those who suffer from them. Even though I’ve been “cured” for years, I’m not really cured. I am living with anorexia with binge/purge type tendencies. Some days it’s easy for me to eat, and some days it takes all I’ve got.
I want to watch this movie to see how they accomplish portraying the ugly part of my mind to the world and to give myself a little hope. I also know I need to be safe when I watch it, and not let my mind focus on her tiny arms, her sharp collar bones and her hip bones like knives.
This blog post is a message to my eating disordered sisters and brothers pre-recovery, in recovery and post-recovery: I know you want to see people educated. I also know the voice will come out in the movie while we are watching, and it will once again gain strength as we begin to question ourselves: Well, I was never that thin. I never went to recovery. I’m so much bigger now, look how beautiful and small she is. I wish I could go back to that size. I miss it.
Much like the doctor in the movie trailer, I hope you tell those voices to fuck off. I also hope the producers of this movie kept in mind that while people who don’t suffer from anorexia need to be educated, those of us who do suffer will be watching.
Me and my eating disordered brothers and sisters are sick of living to the bone. I’m hoping this movie reminds us of that.