Posted 19 января 2022,, 09:24

Published 19 января 2022,, 09:24

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

“I’ll die, but I’ll lose weight”: anorexia kills one girl every hour

“I’ll die, but I’ll lose weight”: anorexia kills one girl every hour

19 января 2022, 09:24
Anorexia has become one of the most dangerous mental illnesses today. Nearly a third of people with eating disorders attempt suicide. Starting with harmless diets, this disease affects more and more young women.

Irina Mishina

The consequences of anorexia are like a natural disaster. 10,200 deaths per year are a direct result of eating disorders, which means that almost every hour in the world, 1 person dies from the consequences of eating disorders.

A few years ago, I came across a monstrous story: in one of the “losing weight” groups on the social network VKontakte, two girls were driven to suicide. These communities sometimes become real "death groups" in which those striving for excellence and losing their weight lose their health, and sometimes even their lives.

When you enter these groups, it seems that teenagers from all over Russia hate their bodies, strive for the ideal weight of 30 kilograms and adhere to the principle “to be thin, you have to suffer”.

“I want to go to the mirror and count my ribs. Stroke the waist and pelvic bones. Admire the fragile legs-sticks, expressive collarbones. I want to see my bones”, - the morning begins with such an entry in one of the ana-groups (from the word “anorexia”) on VKontakte.

Thinness is the religion of teenagers. Here are their commandments: “Girls over 50 kg are fat”; “To be thin, one must suffer”; “Boys love thin girls, that is why you are alone”; “Exchanging your dream for food is stupid”; “Fat are the dregs of society”; "I'll die, but I'll lose weight."

Why do children and young girls often from prosperous families, outwardly attractive, bring themselves to starvation? What is the reason for this craze that breaks the lives of young people? Documentary photographer Gala Castargo created a photo project in which she collected documentary stories of girls who candidly talk about how they live with anorexia and try to overcome its associated phobias.

“I faced anorexia at the age of 23 and was able to overcome it myself. She weighed 56 kg with a height of 157 cm. She lost weight up to 40 kg. It all happened by accident, there was a diet after gastritis, she lost weight on it. Then I thought that I could lose more, and so I reached 50 kg, and then everything went by itself. When you reach 50 kg, some kind of automatic scale turns on when you want to see a smaller number. For a year I tried to gain weight, but when I approached a certain mark, the brain refused to accept it. It's a disease. She experienced anorexia herself, after that she decided to show how it happens to others”, - photographer Gala Kastargo tells NI.

The reverse side of anorexia sometimes looks scary.

Klava, 33 years old, St. Petersburg: “I started rhythmic gymnastics from the age of eight. Perhaps this is the root of the problem: for gymnastics, I was overweight. In the classroom, I saw beautiful girls, thin. And I understood that I was not like them, and I really wanted to be slim. I began to "poking around" in food, refused to eat something. She said that I needed to lose weight. Because of this, conflicts arose with parents. My dad is a doctor. He and everyone in the family tried to get me out of this state. Ten years ago I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic. There I gained five kilograms. When I returned home, I could not live with it ... I weighed 45 kilograms and seemed fat to myself. I eat everything except soup with a teaspoon. I weigh myself once or twice a day. Now my weight is 29 kilograms with a height of 168. Menstruation? I have long forgotten what it is. I don't remember the last time she was. I think it's in 2009. I understand that I am very thin, that it is scary to look at me and that people are afraid. But it's really not that easy to get better".

Everyone comes to anorexia in different ways.

“In our groups there are girls of 10, 11, 12 years old with anorexia. Everyone has different reasons. For many, it happens like this: girls grow up, the body begins to change, this does not suit them. Anorexia also occurs among those who play sports. The coach says, for example, that the legs are not like that, that extra weight prevents you from performing well. Or at school someone joked unsuccessfully, they started teasing”, - says Gala Kastargo.

The statistics of eating disorders among children and young people in Russia looks frightening today:

- 42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be slimmer.

- 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.

- 46% of children aged 9-11 "sometimes" or "very often" diet.

- 35-57% of teenage girls are on a strict diet, fasting, inducing vomiting on their own, taking diet pills or laxatives.

“Mortality from food poisoning disorders (anorexia) among mental disorders is leading today, the suicidal risk is very high. According to statistics, there are more women among those suffering from anorexia, but men have also been found lately. The disorder is getting younger and younger. At risk - adolescence, from 12 to 18 years. The causes of this disorder are a combination of psychological, social factors and genetic predisposition. A person grows, the body changes, dissatisfaction arises with him. Athletes, gymnasts, ballerinas, who have weight requirements, are often prone to anorexia. Diet is the trigger. Play the role and personality traits. More often, people with perfectionism, self-demanding, stubborn, often excellent students, asthenic, having problems with the release of emotions, with black and white thinking on the principle “all or nothing” are prone to anorexia, - says medical family psychologist Emilia Javadova.

Vika, 17 years old, Yekaterinburg: “As a child, I was a complete child. I myself was okay. But I felt pressure, most likely unconscious, from people... My father told how, at the age of seven, at the reception, the doctor said something like: "Oh, what a plump girl". And she poked me in the stomach: “How many pies are there!”. Perhaps this left its mark. I remember how in the seventh grade I was walking down the school corridor, and it seemed to me that my classmates were laughing at me because of my fat legs. After that, I decided that I would lose weight ... I became afraid to eat. She ran up the stairs. Run to the ninth floor and back. Even bruises appeared on the heels. I squatted a hundred times in the morning. She also worked at night. The body is so used to it that it wakes up on its own at the right time. Weight dropped to 37 kilograms. The periods have been gone for a long time. Forces are gone, apathy has appeared.

Treat anorexia today at the Children's Mental Health Center. Sukhareva, in the clinic for the treatment of eating disorders at the hospital. Alekseev, specialize in this and several private medical centers. But few manage to defeat anorexia. In fact, starting to eat right and just eat in general is not the main solution to the problem, because a mental disorder is treated on a different level.

“A girl who weighs 30 kg is told: “You just start eating!”. And they don’t understand that they are destroying her, because food is calories, and starting to eat is a disaster for her. Patients with anorexia are afraid to gain even 100 grams! Someone is in psychiatric hospitals, but there are no good reviews about such treatment. There are psychotherapists, psychologists who help patients with eating disorders. But the main thing is personal desire. It used to be that they were forcibly put in hospitals, and everything was useless, and then the person himself began to get better”, - says Gala Kastargo.

The fate of the heroines of her photo album has developed in different ways. Someone went into remission and began to gain weight to normal, someone could not overcome the fear of gaining weight. The most difficult situation today, perhaps, is with Alice from Ukraine. She says: “The eleventh year [of illness] has gone. I weigh myself seven to eight times a day. I weigh food. I don't eat with my mother. There are compulsives about drinking, water, tea. It seems to me that there is garbage, dust. I have never had a period. I kind of understand what this will lead to. But I postpone [the start of treatment] until tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow ... I write down everything that I ate in a day.

At the time of publication, Alice's condition worsened ..

Klava from St. Petersburg , who was controlled by her parents and made sure that she ate at least something, moved out of them. “I haven’t gained 30 kilograms yet, but close: 29,650 at the moment. I work with “cockroaches”, I work with a psychologist, I drink antipsychotics. The mood is normally good. At least no suicidal thoughts. And I want to live independently and brightly, not to depend on anyone, ”she says.

But the biggest success of this project is its youngest participant, 13-year-old Nastya from Moscow. She began to come out of the deadlock on her own:

“Now I eat 2000 to 2500 calories a day. I still have fears, but I try to fight them. I'm finally not cold. I can wear clothes that flatter my figure. I realized that a person is loved not for weight, but for his attitude to this world. I have a young man. I don't regret the weight gain at all. By the summer I want to go in for sports. This is what I want, not my disorder. Not counting calories is such a thrill!”