Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eating Disorders

We have a new story in our show "What's Behind Our Eyes."
Actress Rhonda Bynum portrays Marie, who deals with eating disorders. Marie turns to obsessive exercise and disordered eating as vehicles for control and maintaining invisibility.

(Pictured: Rhonda Bynum as Marie)

"Eating disorder” is a phrase that describes conditions in which individuals engage in disordered eating. It's important to note that eating disorders are not simply poor eating habits but are recognized mental health disorders in which emotional issues manifest in harmful eating habits.

An eating disorder can also be a form of intense need for control. A person in this situation who feels as if they have no control/say in their lives will resort to controlling their eating habits in order to feel grounded and safe. This is what Marie experiences.

The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (anorexia), bulimia nervosa (bulimia), and binge eating disorder. There has recently been a new diagnosis articulated called Orthorexia.

If you are suffering from an eating disorder and are located in the Chicago metropolitian area, the following treatment centers offer help:
  1. Awakening Center, 3523 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60657; 773.929.6262.
  2. Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, 1650 Moon Lake Boulevard, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 ~ Available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day @ 1-800-432-5005.
  3. Linden Oaks Hospital at Edward.org, 801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540; Call the Linden Oaks Help Line at (630) 305-5500 for a free assessment 24/7 to help you or your loved ones.
  4. Insight Psychological Centers - 205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 301, Chicago, Illinois 60601; (312) 540-9955
We would love for you to come see a performance of "What's Behind Our Eyes" with Marie's story and other stories from Chicago-area teenagers, and stay for the discussion afterwards.
In the meantime, the New York Times has also collected real people's stories of experiencing and overcoming eating disorders and shares them in this interactive feature with audio recordings of people's personal stories.

You can also share your story with Erasing the Distance. Get in touch with us

For additional information about eating disorders, visit
The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Eating Disorders online. There is a lot more to learn and share about eating disorders, but I hope this introduction starts to shine a light on the topic.
~ Oriana at Erasing the Distance

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