Have you ever heard of Proana? Its someone who promotes and supports anorexia as a good thing.
I’m a woman who is the antithesis of starvation. I will eat, even when eating makes me very literally, not in any way metaphorically, sick. Curled up in a ball, sick. I do it to myself at least once a quarter. I deliberately eat things that I am consciously aware will make me sick as a dog.
Yet despite all the pain that eating gives me, I have no desire to starve myself.
Still, in a weird bizzaro world way, I understand the person who decides to embrace the horror of what is killing you.
Under the premise “If you are being run out of town, grab a baton and lead the parade”, I have often redefined my problems as strengths. That is what the proana person does, of course. They don’t want everyone to say they have a problem, so they make the problem into a badge of honor. A trait that is enjoyed and giving them happiness.
We are often told to reframe our problems as opportunities or a natural part of our psyche, to be loved and accepted.
Its a dangerous thread to walk. It takes a huge amount of self awareness and wisdom to weed out whether you are being self destructive or self defining. And larger amounts of courage to face your deepest most self defining issue and choose to change.
The level of self awareness needed and the character strength needed are not traits of very young people. And that is when we are often forming our self definition. When we are forging those frames that keep us from recognizing whether we are deceiving our self or whether we are accepting our self.
Proana, perhaps, is the flip side of the heavy person who chooses to embrace their size and eating choices, despite all evidence that its not healthy.
Its a weird world we live in.