Some believe they have Gaydar, and are able to sense if a person is gay or straight. Some believe they have Jewdar, and can detect if one is Jewish. Me? I have Anodar, and I have the ability to recognize when someone is struggling with an eating disorder.
After I ordered my dinner last night at a fast-food style restaurant, I made my way to the cashier to pay. The girl who took my credit card made eye contact, and our eyes locked for a split second. In that second, I wished I could say to her, “I see you. I know what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and what you’re going through.” But, obviously, that would have been completely inappropriate as I have never spoken a word to her in my entire life. I didn’t need to.
After developing and battling a significant eating disorder of my own, I am able to intuitively recognize another victim by very slight indications. I am extremely sensitive to social behaviors, outward appearance, and other small mannerisms that I, too, displayed when I was anorexic.
Her pale complexion made her hair look like the darkest shade of black as it was pulled back into a ponytail. It was obvious that she was losing the brittle hair she had left and it was thinning significantly.
She seemed considerably underweight, her back completely caved in, and every bone on her body was bulging through her shirt. She was wearing high-waisted jeans and her shirt was tucked in tightly. Her long limbs looked like sticks, and her face was stoic. She struggled to even smile.
Anorexia often goes hand in hand with an intense interest in food, dietary fat, caloric intake, dieting, and, of course, with food itself. Young girls may become extremely interested in food shopping and preparation, which explains why she gravitated to a fast-food dining establishment for a job.
And, finally, she was exceptionally preoccupied as if she was in the middle of a daydream. Thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to food and weight can begin to interfere with our everyday activities or tasks.
I saw it, smelled it, felt it, and tasted it. My heart aches for her as I know how eating disorders are so intense and consuming. I hope that her family or those around her are educated and aware of the signs and symptoms of anorexia and get her the professional help she needs immediately. She has a beautiful life to live, and clearly has so much to offer. That sweet, innocent girl doesn’t deserve to be a prisoner to her eating disorder.