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Sarah Luczaj

“Just How Strong is the Link between Anorexia and Suicide?” Comments, Page 1

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10 Responses to “Just How Strong is the Link between Anorexia and Suicide?”

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    Or, to put it another way: what is missed is the violent shadow of perfectionism.

    As pointed out many years ago (but still not widely understood in my, not so humble, opinion): every neurosis is a creative adjustment. It is not about the neurosis. Take away a person’s coping mechanism and then you are surprised they aren’t happy? This isn’t exactly surprising. People who pursue this strategy just aren’t terribly bright.

    Once people understand what the anorexia is for, then they can start exploring other ways of meeting this need/desire, and where it came from (it may have come from someone who they don’t like, who did terrible things to them – and may decide they don’t want to be controlled by them anymore for instance).

    I’m not saying that dealing with anorexia is easy. From all reports it is remarkably difficult. But then so is dealing with this degree of determination and violence involved.

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    The most fatal mental disorder is anorexia, but more specifically binge-purge type anorexia. This means the individual binges and purges and meets less than 85% of their expected body weight.

    In addition, suicide idealization may not be caused by the anorexia. Many with eating disorders have an existing, undiagnosed mood disorder which the anorexia is an attempt to medicate.

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    The younger age bracket is always used when Anorexia is discussed, what are the statistics for middle aged women to experience anorexia?
    Someone very close to me is going through this at the moment and it has been described as a ‘slow suicide’ and that anorexia is a side effect (because of the rapid weight loss) of what is really going on mentally.
    I can’t believe she is the only 40something year old to go through this at this point in her life.
    Any comments or insights will be gratefully received.

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    I am constantly amazed at how self-destructive eating disorders can be. It seems as though the perfectionism facet may play into the suicide finality of attempts. That is, verbalized, perhaps, “I won’t mess up my own death.” So, the means to suicide become so violent, that no way exists to escape.

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    I have had years of experience with dealing with a sibling with anorexia. It is directly linked to deprivation, a controlled element in ones life, although very uncontrolled. My sister recently has passed away due to complications. Her existance was a continual fight on a rollercoaster ride. I do not think she really could see the detrimental effects such self control could have one oneself, she was so focused on the pain that the self inflicted suffering was better than pain received from outside elements in her life.
    It is a form of suicide as it was discussed over and over how her body would begin to suffer and not be able to recover for the devistation of lack of care. At times it was a choice to die…….at other times it was i dont want to die……then there came the day there was no choice. Her body decided for her.
    At first yes it was directly linked to self image… look good, be tiny, be thin, wear all the pretty clothes the models could wear. It later became more of a control over pain. I realize not all victims follow the same path but I can say I turly wish that others have more effect on someone they love ……i was there everyday and it felt like i was watching a life slip away… it did!!

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    I completely relate to this article. I had anorexia through out my teenage years. I forced myself to ascend from that black hole near the age of 19, but I still sometimes feel like I’m living at its edges. The self hatred can be immense, the desire to be smaller is an expression of the hatred of that which can not be controlled in ones self and in one’s life. It is violent. I have always felt more of an object than a human being in other people’s eyes. I feel like they will never see me for who I am but for what I appear to be. Even then, I feel that if one was to know me just by what I am inside, they would still feel I am worth nothing. I have fantasies of violent deaths for myself, especially when I am under profound stress or blame myself for all that has gone amiss with my life, even things I know rationally I have not control over. These thoughts help me feel vindicated for existing in my eternally ‘imperfect’ and sick state…because then I know that I am willing to ‘admit’ to myself that I possibly do not have the true right to live because I’m so awful, and possibly unlovable by anyone. These thoughts help me cope with fear. I know I could do it, I have not yet obviously, and part of myself hopes I never become so hopelessly full of self-hate and conflict that I take that final step. In some ways, I would rather be dead than return to anorexia itself–but that is the dilemma–I can not find a ground to stand on where I don’t want to destroy myself one way or another. Suicidal ideation is just another manifestation that has grown stronger from time to time since I forced myself out of the anorexic way of ‘living'(well, actually dying). This truly is a deadly mental illness. I can see there are people in this world who do not feel this way and they live much happier lives, not living with such a deep hatred and dissatisfaction with themselves that seems impossible to shake, no matter what. The only way out I can see is to accept everything ‘bad’ that comes into my life mainly as chance that can’t be mitigated in any way, and to be deeply thankful for what is given to me. There is no escape from pain for any living being, nor true total control in any form for any of us. It is a fact of life. Anorexics can’t seem to get their minds around this concept. Even in death, they have not escaped the chaos of the universe, but in their struggle have made pain and unhappiness more imminent at least in the lives of those around them, by running from it through starvation and suicide.

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    I suffered from anorexia just two years ago. I remember it. I remember sticking my index finger down my throat in the bathroom, when my parents forced me to eat. God, it felt like hell to me. I hated it, I felt like I was in a black hole, away from my family, my friends, my boyfriend, life. I stopped eating, but increased exercising. I can clearly remember looking at myself with pity in the mirror. My rib cage became clearer and clearer. My poor mother. I put her through hell. That is what I regret the most. Seeing my mother’s face. Tears strolling down her powdered cheeks when she caught me forcing myself to throw up. I was so insecure with myself. I hated the lack of support I had on myself. My friends became scared of me, not wanting to be near me. My boyfriend, he broke up with me. Although, he left me a note that said:

    “You are beautiful, Liz. You were at least. I miss you, and I don’t want to hurt you, and you are hurting yourself. I love your old self. You were beautiful then. Call me when you are better, when you are cured. I love you, and I believe in you.”

    He clipped an “all you can eat ribs” coupon to the back of the note. My dad cried when he saw me in my bikini.

    After my Grandma died, I stopped. I went out to eat pizza with my family that night. Lots and lots of pizza. I was cured, and was reloved. I got back with my boyfriend, and were better than ever.

    I realized what life was really made of those few months of living hell.

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    “There seems to be active self hatred at work.” This is the key.

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    Clinicians often fail to consider Anorexic patients as being one of the highest risk groups for suicide. Outwardly a frail – Drs see only medical dangers. The highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses – research shows that FAR more Anorexics die from suicide than medical complications. The Anorexia suicide link is overlooked for many reasons.
    A previous suicide attempt is a strongest indicator of future suicide completion. Yet with Anorexia it shows patients almost never a have a prior attempt before ending their lives. Most suicide related research on eating disorders focus on highest attempts among the types vs highest completions.

    Why else? Anorexia is an illness current suicide risk assessments fail to measure accurately. Scales typically require Drs to rate a patient impulsivity – Anorexics by definition are quite opposite of impulsive. They demonstrate a great deal of self-control. Bulimia & BED are associated with high impulsivity & high attempts BUT low completion. Anorexics though often have no prior attempts. Research shows the Anorexic use highly lethal methods guaranteeing completion.
    Assessments also fail to account for the secretiveness of Anorexia Nervosa. Most Anorexics learn to hide things well – eating habits, weight loss (baggy clothing), emotions, needs, etc. Doing assessments – scoring behaviors like weight loss/gain, isolation, lack of social support, etc. are frequently part of the illness from the very start & clinicians overlook it because these aren’t sudden changes for the Anorexic but are ongoing things that haven’t changed or gotten better.

    A huge risk is clinicians associate weight gain as success. Not to say it isn’t – weight gain is necessary & very distressing too (something true for anyone). It’s the 1 disorder where hard work (achieving weight gain) doesn’t bring happiness or create a sense of pride. Anorexics & healthy individuals alike typically don’t celebrate going up a pant size.
    Not only is “success” unrewarding in that sense – starving can’t cloud thoughts & help cope with underlying pain & emotions that assisted to create the illness in the 1st place. Weight gain grants the mind a sense of clarity – which is a bombardment of overwhelm. Everything Anorexia had helped a patient cope with surfaces fast.

    Clinician’s viewing weight gain = success = getting better. They fail to recognize a patient’s mental state is likely much worse & can be the time of highest risk for suicide. The overwhelming amount of mental pain & emotions flooding in with just enough clarity & energy to successfully carry out a suicide.

    Anorexics typically share similar strong emotions like fear, shame, guilt.. Imagine the thought of an unsuccessful suicide – Anorexics, already feeling that often can’t stomach how much guilt/shame they’d feel facing people after a failed attempt.
    Lastly, starving 24/7 is incredibly painful. Time brings pain habituation. Repeated exposure to pain decreases sensitivity to it = lethal methods.

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    A lot of comments and writings on the matter are just missing the point. Long term eating disorders often result in very poor quality of life. It’s the poor quality of life that drives sufferers to end it.

    Unless you’ve actually lived with a long term eating disorder, you’ll never understand how severely it affects your day to day life.

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