To the bone review: From a recovered anorexic

I recently made a post about the trailer of the “To the bone” movie which i had seen and warned those in recovery or even who have recovered to not watch the film as it would most likely be triggering. I didn’t know if i would watch the movie or not, but i decided i would… however i regret that decision. I regret giving the movie 2 more views than it should have because it was not a good movie according to me.

I began watching the movie yesterday but felt myself getting irritated and angry and so turned it off after 30 minutes. Then this evening i decided, i might as well watch it all to know how it ends…. does the girl recover and does the movie maybe get better? And i can’t say that the movie gets better and you don’t even know if the girl recovers or not… if anything i think the movie would have been better if it showed more of the hardships of recovery, of the small steps and choices you have to make to recover. Because i don’t understand how the movie is inspirational in anyway to someone who is in recovery, maybe it shows that “you don’t want to reach this point and end up looking like this”. But from my own experience, if i had watched this movie when i was sick i would have felt very triggered and thought i am not sick enough… i dont have that dark circles under my eyes, i dont look that skinny, i havent fainted that many times…. and yes, that is part of the sick mind, the comparison and never thinking you are sick or skinny enough. I don’t believe that movie would have been any inspiration for me. I don’t belive it is much of an “insight” either for a family or friend who knows someone who is sick.

So where do i even start on this movie? I have so many thoughts to try to formulate and get out.

First off, if you are in recovery, easily triggered or even have had an eating disorder in the past i would not recommend the movie. In general i wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

If you want to know more about eating disorders, watch an actual documentary and not some glamourized movie version which just seemed unrealistic in my opinion.

Lets start off with almost all the characters were thin white girls in the recovery treatment centre. There was one guy and one large black girl who suffered with binge eating. But it once again promotes the idea that only thin white girls have eating disorders when that is not the case at all. I do like the fact that there was a main guy character who also suffered from anorexia as that needs to be more open and more people need to be aware that males suffer from eating disorders as well.

Second, the trigger content in the movie is ALOT. Calorie counting, weight and numbers talk, triggering pictures, eating disorder tricks/habits which could be picked up and used which is the OPPOSITE of helpful. Many scenes in the film made me wonder how and why they added them, of course it shows the TRUTH because it does happen. Movie spolier!: Chewing and spitting, hiding puke, exercising away calories, trying to get rid of things on food to make it less calorific… all of that happens. My family has seen me do all of those things in my own recovery so yes, they happen…. but i also feel like they don’t need to be shown as that could just share those tricks to someone who is already sick/in the first stages of an eating disorder and watches the film.

Third, i know that all treatment centres are different so maybe there are treatment centres which are just like the one showed in the film, but for me… it was never like it was in the movie. The openness, choosing to eat or not, all the talk about food/calories/habits so openly and there didn’t seem to be anyone there with them. That the patients were just there doing their own thing. I know that recovery isn’t just about food and that a person needs to want to recover for themselves i.e forcing them to eat isn’t going to do much if they don’t want to eat, but the meal times felt so strange and not at all how it has been for me in recovery anyway.

Also the unrealisticness of the treatment centre. I don’t know, it just feels like if someone who is sick thinks that they are going to be inpatient and get to choose what and how much they eat, get to exercise in the nights, purge without being noticed and end up falling in love then they will be extremely shocked when they go into inpatient care. But like mentioned, there are many different forms of treatment centres but the ones i have been to, i have been watched like a hawk, not allowed to even go to my room instead have had to sit in a wheel chair and have had activity monitors on me so i don’t exercise during the nights as well as being forced to eat or drink a supplement drink if i dont eat, there was no choice about it. Not to mention that from 8am until around 9pm would be spent in the common room with all the other patients, nurses always watching, or i would be on bedrest with an alarm that would peep if i moved.

I have so many mixed thoughts and anger towards the movie. Anger that i watched the whole, anger that it was made and i don’t see the point in it. If you want to learn more about eating disorders, watch documentaries with real life people who have struggled and recovered, don’t make a glamourized movie which is potentially very triggering. And if you want recovery motivation there are hundreds of people online who have recovered and stories and post and advice to be read to help you feel motivated and want to recover.

I am really hoping this movie gets alot of critique and gets taken down as i believe it is more harmful than positive, though this is just my opinion, maybe there are many people who feel motivated after watching it or get a better understanding of how a person with anorexia thinks/behaves.

Certain scenes i could relate and connect to alot, so it is very accurate in certain scenes and showing the lifelessness, the anger, anxiety and all of that. But i think it would have been better to show her recovery, even if reaching rock bottom is usually where a person begins to finally recover… but i think if it had shown her eating, facing fears, making choices towards life and happiness it might have been more motivational?

A stereotypical and triggering movie… don’t watch it.

The fact that my internet has stopped working is most likely a sign that i shouldnt post this, however i needed to share my thoughts and get this out of my mind and thoughts.

 

**Note, i was not triggered by the movie i.e numbers, weight, calories and seeing images of skinny people doesn’t trigger me. I was just worried that it would  bring up bad memories and evoke anxiety due to all the bad memories i have of being in hospital. And yes, the movie did make me think of my time in hospital but as it feels so far away i didn’t get any anxiety or feel bad when watching the movie. But for some people, even if they are recovered it might bring up bad memories which is another reason to avoid the film apart from all the other triggers already mentioned, if you are easily triggered by them.

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To the bone (2017) – Movie about eating disorders – my thoughts (from an ED sufferer and survivor)

Yesterday i stumbled across the trailer for the To the Bone movie which will be released on Netflix soon. I will not link or promote looking at the trailer if you have an eating disorder because it could be potentially triggering, and this is where my criticism comes in.

I know i wrote that i would not post so much about eating disorders as i am moving on from that, however i could not stop myself from writing this post as i felt i needed to share my thoughts on this from someone who has had an eating disorder and recovered.

After i saw the trailer it left me with a very uncomfortable feeling. I felt strange and couldn’t quite understand why…. i think it is because in those 90 seconds of the trailer i could relate to so much. It was like i was brought back to the girl sitting at the table in the eating disorder clinic with a nurse infront of me forcing me to eat the little i had on my plate. The memories hit me hard and it was uncomfortable and i didn’t want to be reminded. So that is my first note – if you have had an eating disorder or even have an eating disorder and are just trying to move on, then the movie might be too much of a reminder and bring back memories you don’t want and can be triggering.

My second note was that Lily Collins, who plays the main character, was very thin and this can be triggering. Of course, if you have an eating disorder then you need to learn to deal with the fact that people will be different size and shape than you… and you can’t avoid the fact that there will be people who are underweight either due to illness or they are just naturally skinny. It’s best to accept and learn to deal with this and not get triggered by it. HOWEVER i wouldn’t recommend that you choose to watch a movie where you are forcing yourself to watch someone who is underweight which can leave you with negative thoughts if you haven’t yet learnt to deal with that trigger and accept your body size and weight.

Third note, as i haven’t seen the movie i don’t know how the other characters look, but the fact that the main character was very skinny promotes the fact that only people who are very skinny can have anorexia. Though from what i understand to be diagnosed with anorexia one of the criteria is that you have a weight that is below healthy for you. However that doesn’t mean that someone who is normal weight can’t have anorexia, weight loss is just a consequence of the eating disorder. I don’t know how the other characters look in the movie but i am hoping they are all different shapes and sizes to show that people can look normal and healthy and don’t necessarily look sick even if they have an eating disorder. But i feel the movie promotes the idea that a person looks sick and has to be underweight to have an eating disorder.

Also i think the movie may be problematic because it might give “ideas” to people who are sick or beginning to get sick. Also it might reinforce the image of a “stereotypical” eating disorder or promote the image that “this” is how you behave/look/are if you have anorexia, when infact how a person behaves and looks is very individual. However there are certain habits, thoughts, behaviours which are similar among many of those who suffer with the eating disorder even if they didn’t learn the habits anywhere, they just sort of begin out of the fear and eating disorder thoughts. However it is important to remember that you can look and behave healthy but still be sick and struggling and that can almost be more dangerous because those who look and behave like they are sick are almost guaranteed help first compared to those who don’t look or act sick.

I know the series 13 reasons why, got critique for almost glamorizing and/or promoting self harm and depression, however i didn’t think it did either of that. However from just the trailer of To the Bone, i feel like it could do more damage than good – for those suffering anyway.

However maybe the movie might be good for family and friends who know someone who is struggling and can get more of an insight into behaviours or thoughts that the person struggling may have.

Maybe the film will be inspirational and helpful if it shows that the characters recover and get happier and healthier, then maybe that is motivation and help for those who are struggling….. but until i have seen the film (if i do watch it), i don’t know. And it will be very individual how someone interprets the film as triggering or inspirational.

My personal opinion, is don’t watch it if you think you will be triggered. Also DON’T watch the trailer if you are easily triggered or might find yourself comparing.

There needs to be more awareness about eating disorders however i think movies such as this one may be more problematic than helpful even if the intention is good. HOWEVER i haven’t seen the movie so if i do watch it maybe i will write a film review and see what my thoughts are.

I think focus should be on promoting recovery, help, advice and not so much triggering movies that can be seen as glamorizing or giving tips about how to be sick.

Though i did see one person answer some of the critique and they said that in recovery it is important to learn to deal with triggers as you can’t avoid them, however i can say from someone who has been healthy from their eating disorder 4/5 years and is not easily triggered, i don’t personally want to expose myself to a movie that will bring back some of the worst memories of my life and leave me feeling uncomfortable and anxious.

 

Also remember if you are suffering, always reach out for help! There are people out there who can and will help you, don’t suffer in silence and my first recommendation is ALWAYS to seek professional help!

Always choose life, always choose recovery, always choose health! You can recover and get better!

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Movie review: okja 2017

A few days ago, the 28th June, the film Okja was released on Netflix. I saw many people in different vegan groups i am in recommend the film, so i decided to give it a go despite it being 2 hours and my patience for films lasting roughly 20 minutes.

I had no idea about the films release or what it was about, whether it was a documentary, based on real life or a fictional and animated movie.

It turns out it was a film with some “animation” i.e the pig Okja was animated. However i must say that the animation skills were incredible and it looked so much like real life it was almost creepy!

Description of the film from IMDB: “Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja”

The reason the film was recommended by so many vegans is that 1) An animal liberation group is in the film and 2) it shows why vegans think the way they do and might act in extreme ways, but also 3) if you have some sort of sympathy for the pig Okja or for the girl Mija and you don’t want the pig to get harmed or killed… then you understand why someone is vegan.

Of course in the film you get some sort of “connection” with the pig… you see the pigs back story and you see how adorable the pig is and then it’s harder to see that one pig die, just like with pets…. you would never want to kill your own pet who you have a connection with, however you don’t care about the rest of the animals in slaughter houses because you have no connection with them, you dont really “care” about them. A bit like the hard dilemma of: would you rather save your best friend or 5 strangers from being killed on a train track where you pull the lever and decide. Hopefully you will never be in that situation, but it’s a bit like that…. you save the person/animal you have a connection with.

What did i think of the film? It was good, maybe not the best film i have seen but it gives an insight into veganism and might provoke some thoughts for people without being a documentary which has one too many bullshit facts or a propaganda movie/documentary which may be too extreme or uncomfortable for someone to watch. So i think this movie is atleast a first step and might get some thoughts going!

If you have two hours to spare, don’t mind reading some text and just want to also be “taught” something then watch the movie! However the ending might be a little uncomfortable/unsettling for some to see if you are sensitive to slaughterhouse footage etc So just be warned about that beforehand!

Have you seen the movie, what did you think?