S3: Fine Line - Episode 8 - Jessica

Episode Information

Fine Line: Mental Health/Mental Illness – Episode 8 – Jessica

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Season three Fine Line narrative histories about mental health and mental illness, a traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. May you find insight and understanding in these voices. Episode eight, Jessica.

Jessica:  In middle school, I was very nervous, very anxious. Um, I guess the main issue going on was that I was afraid of change. I was afraid of my relationship changing with my parents. I was afraid of, I guess, my body physically changing. It was painful just to like, walk around and smile at people. It was tiring. I think the pain that an anorexic feels is actually pleasure to them because for me, that hunger that I felt that knot in my stomach symbolized, I guess a new person that I was becoming, like a new body that, that I was gonna have. I felt that my life was chaotic and controlling what I ate was I guess my form of putting my foot down and saying, here’s something that I can, I can take power over something that I can control. My face was very hollow. Um, like for example, if I was in a swimsuit, um, they would be indent where other people didn’t have indents. You could see my ribs more than more than normal. Your skin becomes kind of yellowish. Um, it’s actually extremely strange because when I was going through it, I would look in the mirror and I would see something physically bigger than I actually was. And I would, I would look down at my body and I would not see the emptiness that was there. I just wouldn’t see reality. I would see a perfectly trimmed figure that was healthy.

Um, I think the most helpful thing was my mom being very forceful with me because I was not willing to change my pattern of eating, and we would write out what I was going to eat, and she made me stick with that. I, I had to eat with her all the time. She basically made me come to reality.

I think we idolize youth. If you look at art and you look at magazines, it a child’s body. It is very long legs, very slender legs, extremely small waist, but with a, with huge boobs. I mean, it’s like, it’s a very strange mixing of body parts. It’s sexuality added to a child’s body. I think that we do live in a very superficial world that thrives on the image and the physical. We constantly judge people by what they look like and what they appear to be. We should be more vulnerable with each other because we will show who we truly are and we won’t have to rely upon the image to create a sense of self-worth.

[Outro Music]

Host: Jessica is an advocate. She uses her voice to help others. Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on weight, body shape, and food. These behaviors can impact the ability to get the necessary nutrition one needs. It can harm the heart, bones, teeth, sometime linked with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and the inability to function in other areas of life. Jessica states emphatically you can recover from an eating disorder. Her voice shines a light on understanding and on the complexity of these issues. Thank you, Jessica, for your wisdom and your presence. Every person, every place is a map to somewhere else. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for Jessica’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.