How Anorexia Is Like A Vampire

By: Heather Hower Anorexia is similar to a vampire. It is like making a deal with the devil (Eating Disorder) to give up all food and drink, be beautiful and immortal (freeze your body development), retain flesh and blood (but not your humanity or your quality of life), sucking the energy out of your soul, leaving you for dead, and then moving on to the next victim without remorse.

There are further similarities. Both anorexia and vampires (in folklore) have been around for centuries. Both have been feared, cloaked in mystery, misunderstood and underestimated. People with anorexia and vampires can look very frightening (gaunt, with very pale skin), act in strange ways (not eating food), be perceived as having control over their behavior (“choosing” this “lifestyle”), and being very close to death (taking life every day).

There are many “treatments” for both anorexia (e.g., family, group, individual psychotherapy, psychotropic medications for co-morbid conditions) and vampires (e.g., in folklore, sunlight, stake through the heart, garlic, crucifixes). Yet in both groups, there are those that are resistant to the “treatments,” as if they have little to no effect on them.

So how does one break free of the anorexia or the “vampire curse”? Part of it could involve understanding the “one who made you,” and “why he chose you.” Were you asking for death? Why? Who accepted the invitation? If you understand your reasons for turning to this “dark side,” the benefits of this “dark curse,” but also the pain and loss as life passes you by, you will be in a better position to decide exactly how you want to feed your eternal hunger.

About the Author: Heather, MSW, LICSW, QCSW, ACSW has served on the Board of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) since 2013 (including the Development Committee, Research Advisory Council, Conference Committee Co-Chair), and collaborates with her NEDA colleagues on Eating Disorder research studies, papers, and presentations. Through her position at Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, she has also been collaborating with her local Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Partial Hospital, Outpatient, and Home-Based clinical programs since 2013.  Heather had Anorexia Nervosa for 23 years, and has been recovered since 2012.