Addressing physical and emotional disorders
Healing requires support
Letter to the Editor
The prevalence of eating disorders is one of the biggest problems facing our student body. Many universities have similar trouble — one out of five college women has an eating disorder — but Notre Dame is a different type of school and should respond differently.
We must understand that obsession with food is contagious. When one woman comments that she is fat most of the women will view themselves in the same way. Constant calorie counting, taking diet pills, guilt after meals and compulsive exercise is unhealthy. Such anxiety and obsession keeps us from happiness.
Many people with such an unhealthy relationship with food creates an environment which is conducive to eating disorders. We must work to destroy an environment which perpetuates the disease.
We must recognize God's role in the healing process. An eating disorder is not primarily a problem with food, it is a disease of the soul; we must heal the soul before we can treat the body. The heart of recovery is spiritual. We must be praying at Mass and as individuals for all those suffering from an eating disorder. Instead of talking or worrying about a friend that looks too thin light a candle for her at the grotto.
Open and honest discussion is necessary. We can't talk about people behind their backs or we worry for weeks without saying anything. Speaking with others who have had similar experiences can help bring the healing and self-acceptance that a person with an eating disorder needs. If we continue to let shame keep us quiet we will cut ourselves off from a precious resource: each other.
The women on this campus most definitely need each other. We can agree to stop talking about calories and to stop saying, "I'm so fat!" We can walk to the counseling center with a scared friend. We can pray for each other. Imagine the incredible things that we could accomplish if we weren't weighed down with worries about food.
February 27, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, February 28, 2001