To the Bone starring Lily Collins is now on Netflix. This is my chilling story about life with anorexia.
To The Bone is the first feature film about anorexia nervosa. It will be released tomorrow on Netflix, starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves as the main protagonists. The film is undoubtedly infused with a collection of horrific truths. Movies now are casting the latest Hollywood gems to speak lines that are construed to be better than we hear in real life. Is this new drama immanently romanticising the disorder being portrayed? One victim has penned her story.
You, the one about to read my story.
You have to know something. You have probably met a ‘me’ before. This could have been you, it could be someone you know, it could be the girl next to you on the train or the boy lingering around the bathroom.
Welcome to my story.
It started at University, I hosted dinners for my flatmates to disguise the fact that hours later I would be on my bathroom floor, purging. University was the first time I could really control my food and what I was eating. It was almost a different dimension, I was enjoying being able to control every aspect of my own life. I didn’t need to ask permission, could workout as much as I wanted and I didn’t have someone else choosing my meals.
There is no glamour in starvation. At the time, I enjoyed seeing the results, I couldn’t see the consequences though. I couldn’t feel my cracked lips, I couldn’t see my ribs through my shirts, I ignored the strands of hair I would find on my pillow each morning and watched makeup tutorials on the best way to conceal the blemishes and eye bags. My skill was covering it up, at least for the first three months. Then they noticed, students would talk about be in whispers and teachers would ask me in for personal one-on-one time.
Then it happened. Missed periods, bruises on my spine, protruding bones and chipped nails. I had become my affliction, there was no hiding it anymore. After seven months, my friend called my parents.
They admitted me to an eating disorder clinic. This was only last year.
Watching To The Bone was harrowing. Lily Collins isn’t just playing Ellen, she is playing all of us. Her obsession with calories, the need to share graphic images, her physical appearance deteriorating, it is a truth so many can’t admit. Anorexia, isn’t about food. It is about wanting to achieve extreme ‘perfectionism’.
Throughout the film, characters demonstrate ways to deceive people and lose weight- none of which I will detail here. Critics have claimed the film is “flirting perilously with being a tutorial on how to do it successfully.” Yet, this is how we do it, how victims do it, how sufferers do it. Both characters are authentic and speak candidly, they don’t sugarcoat it.
20% of anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their illness. I was on the Lacrosse society at University, I lived with five other girls and had built fantastic friendships. But only one had the courage to call my parents. It doesn’t always come down to parents, but if you have that gut feeling- offer a hand. Like Ellen, not all with be open to therapy or a kind word, but you then again, you could be saving a life.
Parents, if this is your child or even someone you know, never accuse or judge us, we live in a twilight zone. A life where our scales blind us and our mirrors love us. Comfort and kindness are king. Boyfriends, if you can wrap both hands around her thigh, if she calls it a diet but it has lasted four months, be there for her. Tell her you need her to explain.
Anorexia nervosa is a misunderstood illness that savages lives. To The Bone has brought that to life. There is nothing glamorous about starvation, there is nothing cool about anorexia. Speak up for those who don’t have the courage to, that is why I am here today.