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Only thing that matters

May 1, 2010


Ieva Cielava

“There are many girls, who hide their bodies behind big sweaters and too wide trousers, but the thin and fragile hands betray them, and everybody can notice that they have some problems,” explains the Department head of Crisis and Depression in the Psychology and Narcology Hospital of Riga Zigrīda Taranda.

Bulimia, anorexia and overeating are diseases which attract young girls who believe they will become more beautiful if they are as thin as possible.

Taranda says there are typically two reasons for having an eating disorder. Girls may have experienced some unsolved interpersonal conflicts (she has been told she is ugly or fat or classmates laughed about her look.), or they suffer from a mental illness and the eating disorder is just a small part of the problem.

“To deal with this second group is very complicated; you may explain to her about healthy foods, show her an accurate  reflection in the mirror, or try to persuade her to admit that she is too thin, but they just don’t hear you,” Taranda says.

The only place where girls can be treated for disorders for free is the Psychology and Narcology hospital of Riga Girls have to stay in the same ward with people who suffer from depressions. This may be one reason why so many girls don’t even try to find help and try to deal with it by themselves.

This is how three girls describe, what is going on with them:

L: “It all began when I was teenager. It wasn’t because I was fat, on the contrary I was the thinnest girl in the class. I felt undervalued and unwanted. I didn’t try to get help; I can cure me by myself. There are still times when I look in the mirror, and I feel that I am too fat, but I don’t start starvation again. Instead of that I do some sports. My body doesn’t allow me to forget the horror of starvation, I still have consequences from starvation – my hair still falls out more than it should and my nails break.”

A: “The hardest part of all of this is that my family doesn’t know anything about it. I make excuses for why I don’t want to eat with them. Previously I had a deal with my younger sister who would eat my food, but she started to threaten to tell mom. I haven’t tried to look for help, but my boyfriend helps me a lot. He doesn’t know exactly, what is wrong with me, but he takes care of me and now half of my complexes are gone. Sometimes I even wear dresses at home when we are together, but if someone comes to visit us, I change my clothes fast.”

I: “I think society is to blame for girls being sick with eating disorders! Even friends start giving advice about the ideal weight and look. What is the funniest thing, when you follow their pieces of advice and get thin, they start to laugh that you are too thin. I hate that! I have an overeating attack again, but I won’t throw up this time, I promise that to myself…”

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