I am writing to you on behalf of Project HEAL, a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides financial grants to those suffering from eating disorders who are unable to afford treatment since it is routinely denied by insurers.
I would, first, like to preface this by saying that I am by no means a person who enjoys conflict, and go to great lengths to avoid it. So, addressing you in this manner is not just to get some kind of cheap thrill. A fear of confrontation and a feeling of pure shame are what caused me to keep silent about my own eating disorder for over a decade before getting help, and as I result I nearly died before even reaching my twenties. But today I am confronting, and I am not ashamed.
Having battled anorexia for almost 15 years, I have become habituated to being the butt of other’s jokes. Humor and levity have been an incredible tool in recovering from this heinous disorder, and I am thankfully in a place now where I can laugh at myself and the great lengths I would once go to in order to hide an Ensure. I agree that we all do need to lighten up, but not at the expense of the 30 million men and women in America who deal with this vexing issue. Of those 30 million, up to 20 percent will die due to medical complications or suicide. In fact, just this month, two young women with whom I was in treatment died due to medical complications – one will be laid to rest tomorrow. Their families, who must now go forward in life with only memories of their daughters, are not laughing. And neither am I.
Your comments on this morning’s episode of The View really burned my biscuits. And now that I am eating again, I was really looking forward to eating those biscuits. Alas. My biscuits burned not because I am exhausted (although I am) by constantly having to explain myself, to defend myself, to simply roll my eyes and #smh and just let the naïveté of others’ bead off my skin before allowing it to absorb into my pores. And not simply because I have come to accept, or even expect, that when it comes to the topic of eating disorders, ignorance, at best, is inevitable. My biscuits burned because I feel a fierce sense of empathy for and protection over fellow sufferers, who may take statements like yours to heart more easily and may not be in the best frame of mind to begin with. Eating disorders are fueled by shame and secrecy, and when a public figure such as yourself addresses them in such an insensitive and trivial way, it only causes a very vulnerable population to further retreat into a dark, desolate hole. They may not have a voice, so today I am speaking for them. Why, when you have the platform that you do, would you not choose to utilize it in a constructive manner to build people up with your comedic self? It is baffling and incredibly disappointing.
You may mean well and have acted without malice and simply “in jest,” but your comments and your behavior this morning were in very poor taste (left a worse taste in my mouth than my burnt biscuits #tbh). As penance, I don’t want an apology; I want an answer. In 2015, why can’t we be more compassionate? Also, can you please send me fresh biscuits? With honey please.
PS- Candace, DJ, as a fellow sister in recovery, please give Joy a book or something so she can be EDucated. Help a sister out. And, Whoopi, you too – you had Janet on the unit at Claymoore, yeah? Thanks guys!