The First Smooshy Faced Cat Award Goes To...

...our very own Kate Beckinsale.

Let me take a moment to introduce the Smooshy Cat and Pretty Kitty Awards. The Smooshy Cat is based on this photo

and basically involves any news article, research, or person who makes me want to beat my head against a desk until I look like the cat above.

The Pretty Kitty award goes to those who give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, usually those people who not only have a brain, but actually use it. The Pretty Kitty award is named after my lovely little furball, Aria.

Thusly, we have Kate Beckinsale who "regrets being candid about her teenage eating disorder troubles because now she is always asked about anorexia in interviews."

This comment alone would not earn her a Smooshy Cat award (though not being underweight would probably help with all of the anorexia questions). But Kate has a few more pearls of wisdom out there:

Beckinsale feels confident her own daughter won't become an anorexia victim - because her home life is a lot happier than her mother's was in the years following the untimely death of her father, actor Richard Beckinsale.

Glad to hear that, Kate. However, I'd like to give her a little newsflash: Families don't cause anorexia. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a good home life, or that her bony figure will cause her daughter to develop an eating disorder, but a good home life (including my own...mostly) doesn't mean you won't develop anorexia.

Again, this probably wouldn't warrant any more of my usual attention because it expresses misconceptions about AN that are (sadly) common. It's not all that whacked out, really. However, in the last paragraph of the article was seriously the Hope Diamond of ridiculous comments:

The Pearl Harbour star explains: "I believe anorexia, alcoholism and drug abuse in teens are more about what is happening in the home than a problem with images in the media. It's the nice girl's way of becoming a crack whore."

Really, now.

I didn't expect her to say that AN could be triggered by dieting from little fun factoids found in popular magazines, or by expecting your body to look like (insert name of current celebrity suspected of having anorexia here). Those don't cause anorexia. But heaven forbid someone take responsibility out there and say enough is enough.

I'm beginning to understand why anorexia is sometimes confused as a "control issue." It goes something like this: people with anorexia are afraid of food, afraid of what it will to do their bodies, afraid it will make them fat. It looks like control because the person is trying to control their fear of food. A person who is scared of elevators tries to avoid situations where they might have to ride in them. When I was afraid of germs, I would avoid situations where I might get "dirty." People with AN aren't controlling their food intake- that they are completely out-of-control is blatantly obvious. What they ARE trying to control is their exposure to the thing that fears them: food. Specific foods, especially. Foods that are (typically) high-fat and high-calorie, though I've seen plenty of others.

However, I would also like to give a Pretty Kitty Award to Miss Olivia Newton-John for her comments about her daughter Chloe's battle with anorexia:

'All the therapists in the world can't help if the parents aren't present, loving and pro-active.'

Thank you, Miss Newton-John. Thank you for being so incredibly sane.

This concludes the first ever episode of the Smooshy Cat/Pretty Kitty awards.*

*No cats have been harmed or killed in the presentation of these awards.


Harriet Brown said...

You've nailed it, Carrie. Anorexia-as-control-issue is really all about fear. Why this is blatantly obvious to anyone who has ever watched a person with anorexia try to eat is beyond me. Regular eating is not only what's needed medically to recover, it's also what psychologists would call a fear extinction process. Repeated exposure to the fear stimulus can diminish the fear.

You go, girl!

mary said...

Yep, and it will take time.
I do try to be forgiving of the ignorance which surrounds eating disorders because until I actually had to see and study them I had no idea what motivated or drove them. It was easy to see from the outside that some people may have toyed with weight loss or messed with drugs. That they had other things going on. Then we have the media which misleads as it implies that ED's are about vanity. I do believe that body image work in recovery can help protect one from relapse but I don't believe they are the cause.
What people can't see if they don't personally know of someone who is struggling is the strength of the ED and how it takes control...yes, it's a controlling little devil...if one does not fight back with everything they have. This inner war is hiidden and it will take more exposure for others to understand this.
You can't show it any mercy! Tell on it!
You impress me Carrie, I give you the warrior fear facer award.>:-) Aria looks mighty content! Is she your battle cat?



Thank you for your kudos on my killing-time-while-I'm-supposed-to-be-working philosphical thinking. I don't know where, exactly, that insight came out of. But everything clicked when I put it together. That's why exposure and response prevention (ERP) works so well for OCD and for eating disorders. And I think that's why the weight gain part of AN recovery is so incredibly distressing: you ARE gaining weight. Your fears seem to be coming true. What happens as your brain becomes better nourished is that your fears didn't come true. That in-between time sucks, to say the least.

The outside of anorexia does seem so much different than the inside. My mom said once, long before the AN had even thought about surfacing, that she could never be anorexic because she liked food too much. Which is all well and good, but loving food doesn't mean that you won't develop AN. I did. My mom has totally changed her understanding of EDs now, but to outsiders, AN and BN are completely baffling.

And now I've gone and commented and made my reply longer than my original post. I bow in admiration, Mary. ;) Oh, and the cat? The pic was taken at the vet's for her chart. She was so glad to be out of the carrier and have the thermometer removed from her butt that she just sat there. hee hee.

mary said...

So, you took a picture of your cat at the vet??? hehe You aren't a proud owner, are you?


No, the vet took the pic on a digital camera to put in her chart. When she showed it to me, I liked it and asked her to email it to me. Thus the picture.

That doesn't mean that I don't have about 150 pics of her otherwise.

mary said...


mary said...

I just need to see if I could keep a comment brief. Did it. ;)


Go you!

MsEMPOWER said...

You deserve an award for finding one of the best comment gems I've ever heard, "[Anorexia is]the nice girl's way of becoming a crack whore." Brilliant!


Ms Em,

I don't think I shall ever be able to top that comment. So all of us crack whores need to unite and set this lady straight! :)

Loved the poem, BTW.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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