Wednesday, September 23, 2009

EMILY'S BATTLE WITH ANOREXIA: "I DON'T FEEL I DESERVE TO EAT...THE COUNTING IS HARD...A PLATE OF RITUAL"...[UPDATED !]


Emily & Tiffany, identical twins


Emily, pre-anorexia


Emily now





Tiffany now


From the Intervention series on A&E is this story of Emily, who has been suffering from anorexia for 8 years, and the desperate attempts of her family and identical twin, Tiffany, to help her. At the time of filming, Emily, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed only 94 pounds, 56 pounds less than her twin, Tiffany.



Emily




Emily & Tiffany, identical twins...


PART 1:






Emily exercising in the shower

Tension and frustration...

PART 2:







Food counting: "A plate of ritual"...

PART 3:






The intervention: "You're not going to love her to death"...

PART 4:





"The way we started life is the way I want it ended -- with you at my side" (Tiffany to Emily)

PART 5:





UPDATE!



Emily, March 2009

Intervention did a follow-up on Emily in March of 2009. Click the link below to watch the video. It's amazing...


INTERVENTION: UPDATE ON EMILY

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20 comments:

Josie said...

I find it terribly sad that it's the emaciated anorexics who get all the attention and interest. For every emaciated anorexic there are approximately 7-9 other eating disorder sufferers - stable higher-weight anorexics (who appear quite normal), bulimics, EDNOS sufferers, binge-eaters and compulsive overeaters. They all suffer as much (if not more) than anorexics do.
It's almost like a freak-show - oggling the emaciated bodies, the bizarre food rituals, etc. It makes many people with other EDs wish they were the emaciated anorexic, because their hurt and suffering has the attention, the spotlight, and even the treatment. Anorexics are further encouraged to not recover because they've got the 'glamorous' interesting illness, and unlike the other EDs which people scorn, they get a feeling of achievement as they lose weight and overcome hunger. It's terribly unfair.

Calliope said...

Josie, I completely agree with you-even medical professionals, for the most part treat eating disorder patients at normal or near normal weights much more casually. When I was emaciated, I was hospitalized again and again, I had endless therapy and EKGs and every type of blood test imaginable. They pulled out all the stops. Once I recovered weight, it seemed that no one cares very much about my continuing problems. I feel terribly guilty even going to my outpatient eating disorder groups--although people say I'm skinny, I'm not emaciated. I'm just 10-15 pounds underweight, one of those "normal-looking" anorexics. I'm careful to hide the parts of my body that look too bony. I am definitely slipping, mentally. But I find it so easy to hide. And easy to lie to myself--if no one says anything, it is because I'm not sick.
I've been struggling for 20 years and I've been a scary-emaciated anorexic as well as normal weight bulimic. I've been able to get help only when very ill, so ill it took months to get my cognition normalized. When I spoke about my problems to doctors and mental health professionals when my weight was fairly normal, my concerns were shrugged off (even though I was purging, taking laxatives, fasting, taking diuretics and exercising four-five hours a day, and even thought I was, for the most part honest about these things). I was okay because my weight was okay, which I knew was a lie--people die from doing what I did, no matter what their weight. I think it is appalling that out of all the professionals I've seen, only a handful seem to grasp that higher-weight anorexics, bulimics and EDNOS sufferers need and deserve the same level of treatment that emaciated anorexics do. I realize that extreme anorexics are more visually dramatic when it comes to media coverage of eating disorders, but at some point people need to realize that most people with EDs can and do hide their condition. The hiding is actually part of the pathology, I think.

Josie said...

calliope - you're completely right. Many of your experiences mirror my own and the experiences of my friends.
I was diagnosed anorexic yesterday, though my BMI is 19 - my doctor overruled the weight criteria because she's concerned about its impact on my health. However if i tell anyone the reaction would be complete disbelief, because i look and appear so normal. It's not there for all to see like in the case of Emily in this post - she has her whole family fussing around her, it's all drama and attention and love - many of the things people with EDs have missing in their lives, and which Emily may lose over the years if she recovers fully.

"Julia" said...

When I attempted to discuss issues with my therapist, she told me that I was too big to be anorexic and was eating more than two carrot sticks a day, so I couldn't possibly have an ED. I never bothered trying again and am now leaving therapy because it's proven itself completely useless.

Josie said...

Julia - that's one terrible therapist right there!!!
I'd suggest not giving up on therapy just because one therapist is sh*t - i'm sure there are good ones out there!

EDs are so glamorised and only the most extreme cases are shown. It's not like this with other mental illnesses. You don't get told you haven't got depression on the basis that you haven't attempted suicide more than 5 times (which is the equivalent of what your therapist said i think!)!!!

littlebat said...

Josie, thank you for putting it so eloquently. When I was anorexic and bulimic, my weight varied wildly (over a range of 100 lbs.) Sometimes I "looked" anorexic and sometimes I didn't -- bulimics can often be overweight and still just as sick as their anorexic counterparts. Thank you for pointing that out.

Catherine said...

I think you guys are pointing out some very important issues here. I thought I was the only one going through this but it seems like it happens elsewhere too!! and boy it is infurriating me! Why are we treated that way?? Unless you're at death's door, there's not much attention given to the real stuff and the underlying issues.

Aspie from Sweden said...

I also have experienced what you are discussing.

I also have the problem beeing tall.
Many "professional" has told me that my weight is not sooo low, they have seen people more low in weight.

Nor did they care to find out my BMI that was at 13. I had weight that was "normal" for a normal short slim person. But I am very tall.

I also experienced not getting any help when beeing heavier. Cause then - "your weight is not alarming".

Besides having had ED I have asperger, which have made my therapists shout at me, thinking I am stupid or more than possible stubborn and claiming to not function as they say.
Not a "normal anorexic".

Oh god how I hate the professionals.

I know very many people starving themselves extra, when they decide to get help. They are so scared they aren't thin enough. And sadly that is kind of true (not that they aren't ill enough, but how lousy "care" works).

When I got hospital help with anorexic program, I sort of got swooshed into bulimia. I regret so much I got that "help".

I had total constipation for 3 weeks. They said I should not try to lie to get to misuse laxative.
Had to take care of that myself on permission. As I had to sneak when lowering the laxative and stop them (professionals said I must stop suddenly, but that caused me total constipation for weeks).
I just used laxatives to not get constipated, once every week at most. Never to try to loose weight with them.

I could not gain weight on their poor diet, and they said I was purging (false). A dietist had to tell them to give my twice as many calories, due to my height and activity.
"Professionals" said I should not eat that much or I would get bulimia(!!)

I was forced to rest so much that I got tromboses. A doctor had to tell them I should have at least some physical motion every day.
I got 15 minutes walking per week.

When I was permitted to attend to my mothers 50th birthday party, I was forced to eat dinner right before going to the birthday dinner.
I was going at 17:15, so I HAD to eat at 17:00.
At 18:00 I was expected to eat birthday dinner. Worst bulimic attack ever for me. Start off to my worst years as bulimic.

When I stopped getting professional help, I slowly could get better myself, after all those years.
I did not speak to anyone during relapses and that was a good choice for me (maybe due to asperger and functioning so different).

Today I am enough cured. Maybe can have a relapse, but do not think so. I have lost the always thinking of food thing.
I started to be able to help myself after dx Asperger. Now I know why I am as I am, and that I can rely on myself when professional on ED says I am doing wrong (even though I got better than ever).

I am sad to tell that remaining problem that I connect to previous ED is Chronical Fatigue Syndrome. Even though I have totally normal weight now. And eat good (no cutting out of anything).

- MischaSoleil - said...

I don´t think it´s sad that the emaciated anorexic get a lot of attention. But othere sufferers should get MORE attention. But there are also a lot of people, doctors, therapists, and so on who don´t recognize the danger of other disorders like depressions or whatever ... no matter if someone tried to commit suicide about ten times or never. Ignorants are everywhere.
In my case (I have a Dissociative Identity Disorder) it was even "upside down": There are more doctors or therapists who like to help people with DIS if somebody has, for example, 2-3 or 10-12 "alters". I have more than 80 ones, and it was nearly impossible to find anybody who doesn´t think I am just searching for attention without any reason or better: I am something like a monster. Or those who know exactly how to "abuse" DIS-sufferers in any way so that they won´t remember later, and so on. Ok, now I found help after 13,5 years earching for. I just have to wait now until help can start. ^^

There have to be big changes in treatment of any disordered and ill or sick (whatever ...) people. In every nation, I supppose ... (I come from Germany.) So please don´t give up, everybody who needs help! I think of you.

Anuket said...

Wow, Josie, I never even looked at it that way. That is a very interesting point, thank you for posting that.
As for Julia, I hope you never gave up on therapy. Your therapist was obviously not suited for her profession. When I was cutting, I had to go through 8 therapists, psycho-analysts, physchologists, psychiatrists and priests (who claimed I was possessed by demons!)..I finally found a therapist worth going to on our ninth try. Its a sad truth, that these professions are filled with closed-minded and down-right rude people. But nonetheless, you will find a helpful one if you only look.

katy said...

I am in the UK and cannot watch the follow-up video with Emily as it is limited to the US and canada, I can't find a write up of it anywhere on the internet! How is she doing as of March 2009 when the follow-up was done? Can someone put it on you tube, incredibly the initial show is on but not the follow-up - argh!

Medusa said...

Katy, Emily is doing so well. She's gained weight and is on the road to recovery.

A & E hosts the video so I'm unable to upload it.

Can you view the video with this link?

http://www.aetv.com/intervention/video/index.jsp?bcpid=1452232410&bclid=1453556960&bctid=14890938001

If not, I'll do a synopsis of the video for you.

Medusa

Katy said...

Hi, thanks for the link, alas, it just links me back to the A&E website which tells me i am out of the US and can't view it...

a synopsis would be great if you get a moment, thank you!

Medusa said...

Katy, I'll view the video, take down Emily's comments in shorthand, and post the transcript for you by tomorrow evening.

If I can figure out some way, in the meantime, to upload A&E's video to my website, I will.

Emily has put on weight and looks fantastic. She's doing so well.

Medusa

sooyoung in Seoul, Korea said...

I can see plainly how much anger & resentment Emily has held against her twin sister Tiffany, and the family for having let Tiffany do whatever she did to cause her own unhappiness. It seems almost as if Emily tries to punish them with her slow but certain walk toward death. This motive seems very childish, irresponsible and misguided, but the pain Emily feels inside made me cry all along. Why on earth can't we be free... Let's pray that Emily could forgive, forget, and move on.

Krista said...

Please understand that the difference between anorexia and bulimia is that, with anorexia, there is a body weight that is 15% below normal and a cessation of your menses. Both anorexia AND bulimia have restrictive and purging types.

Also, eating disorders are based in anxiety and a need for control. Most therapists do not focus on the underlying issues involved with EDs and think it is, wrongly, about food or body image. While those are two main proponants, they are not the cause for the disorders in the first place. If you have an ED, get help for the control and anxiety in your life... That should hopefully help the symptomology that you are displaying.

Thomas said...

I am a 34y wm that has been bulimic since I was 15y. I guess my concern how do get a grip on this situation before it kills me. I committing suicide and i don't even realize it. my greatest problem is my teeth they are severely worn, now I 8 to 10 crowns on just my upper teeth. I don't even like to smile anymore due to my appearance with my teeth. I seem to worse in my line of work witch is in sales. I don't seem to be looking the customer in face. where before I could sell a blind man some ocean front property in Arizona. I don't like to look up at people when I talk, I look down at the floor. and I just got married and I didn't even smile in my wedding pictures. I feel bad that I caused this and I ruined my wife's wedding first and only wedding pictures. does anyone know of any dentists that does low cost dental work or trade for my services. I am a hvac technician in bellaire, Texas it's in the Houston area. I am desperate I have the purging under control with the support of my wife. she is a recovering bulimic also. we are both also recovering alcoholics. we have about 6 years combined. so maybe there is a dentist out there that is AA also and would like to help a fellow brother out. I am not looking for a free handout. i am willing to trade or barter for some major dental work. my name is Thomas, so if anyone knows of a kind hearted, god loving dentist that would like to trade services, I have been a a/c tech for 12 years so if you are out there or if you know someone that's described on my post I would to talk with you or someone that you know i would greatly appreciate it. thank you and God Bless You!! my email is mokey150@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I am a 34y wm that has been bulimic since I was 15y. I guess my concern how do get a grip on this situation before it kills me. I committing suicide and i don't even realize it. my greatest problem is my teeth they are severely worn, now I 8 to 10 crowns on just my upper teeth. I don't even like to smile anymore due to my appearance with my teeth. I seem to worse in my line of work witch is in sales. I don't seem to be looking the customer in face. where before I could sell a blind man some ocean front property in Arizona. I don't like to look up at people when I talk, I look down at the floor. and I just got married and I didn't even smile in my wedding pictures. I feel bad that I caused this and I ruined my wife's wedding first and only wedding pictures. does anyone know of any dentists that does low cost dental work or trade for my services. I am a hvac technician in bellaire, Texas it's in the Houston area. I am desperate I have the purging under control with the support of my wife. she is a recovering bulimic also. we are both also recovering alcoholics. we have about 6 years combined. so maybe there is a dentist out there that is AA also and would like to help a fellow brother out. I am not looking for a free handout. i am willing to trade or barter for some major dental work. my name is Thomas, so if anyone knows of a kind hearted, god loving dentist that would like to trade services, I have been a a/c tech for 12 years so if you are out there or if you know someone that's described on my post I would to talk with you or someone that you know i would greatly appreciate it. thank you and God Bless You!! my email is mokey150@yahoo.com

Muslimah said...

It is terrible that some of you were treated so badly in the medical field. I think these disorders definitely need more looking into my own mother was bulimic and she definitely remained overweight. She needed help but no one knew thankfully she did not die and is much better now. In my own situation I find websites like these extremely helpful in fight ing the urges to exercise. I received no professional help at all. I just knew I was sick and began to eat and stop exercising as much. It sounds hard but I would find things I enjoyed eating. I began to enjoy it. It is an important part of living...

Anonymous said...

You know what, I think you're totally right. When I suffered with an eating disorder, I was always afraid that if people found out, their reaction would be, "well if you are anorexic, why are you fat?" Or "not skinny." I always hated that people associated all anorexics as super skinny, bony people. While that is the case a lot of the times, there are a lot of anorexics who no one can tell is sick. That was me, last year. I'm so glad I beat my eating disorder, but I do look back at eating disorders from a different view than someone who never went through that.
Anyway, while this is true, I have seen another episode of Intervention where there was a woman who was anorexic and bulimic, but she appeared to be at a normal weight. So I did like that they did that. But I remember watching this show and thinking the same as you, not all anorexics look like this--some you will never know unless you really paid attention to their diet, and those who don't reveal their eating disorder suffer the worst because they want help but don't want/know how to call for it.