Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Mask

This is a poem, written by Anonymous, that I used to always read when I provided lectures on eating disorders:

Take a look at my face
What do you see?
A woman who shows you
What she wants you to see.

Hear my spoken words
what do they say?
Only what I want you to hear
It's better that way.

See my ongoing smile
What does it show?
Only a small part of me
That I want you to know.

Hear my witty responses
Do they make you laugh?
That satisfies a small hunger
 to be accepted at last.

The feelings I express
Do you think that I"m strong
It's what I need you to think
and again I press on.

If you looked deep in my eyes
It's what I can't let you see
The most incredibly fear
That's strangling me.

If you heard all my thoughts
That I can't let you know
Of shear desperation
That's threatening to show.

If you saw behind the smile
That at this point's painted on
Because my heart's slowly breaking
All security's gone.

My casual wit
A facade nothing more
That once came to ease
Is now such a chore.

If I let you know
Just what makes me tick
I'd lose all control
It's too much of a risk.

So you'll know me best
As who I wish I could be
Someone strong and courageous
really so unlike me.

The poem is sad, but I think accurately represents what those with EDs feel like when trapped in the disorder, partly wanting to hide, and partly wanting their pain to be seen.

However, I must disagree with the last two lines. Fighting an ED requires a ton of strength and courage. Just this morning I watched the internal battle of a young woman who has the "anorexic wish:" Please help me get better without gaining weight. It is anything but weakness that one sees in someone fighting an ED.

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