Inner Hunger – Getting to the Root of Eating Disorders
“Some girls learn that they must sacrifice certain aspects of themselves – their appetites, needs, feelings, and goals – in order to gain support, acceptance, attention, and love. These girls are called “people pleasers”: they try to be everything to everyone. In doing so, they lose who they are to themselves.”
– Marianne Apostolides, Inner Hunger
I recently read the book, Inner Hunger; A Young Woman’s Struggle Through Anorexia and Bulemia, by Marianne Apostolides.
What a story.
The book was published in 1998 – and given to me in 2004 by the author’s aunt (a friend of the family). Then it sat on my bookshelf for more than a decade. I’m not sure why I put off reading it for so long but when I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago, I could barely put it down.
I honestly had no clue about the horrific inner struggle a person faces when he or she is dealing with an eating disorder. Now I have a better idea. And frankly, it sounds like a terrifying, frustrating and lonely journey – especially for a young woman just starting out on her life path.
As a teen, Apostolides found that the seemingly best way to control her thoughts, feelings and life was to control her intake of food – be that vastly limiting the intake of food (anorexia) or consuming enormous quantities of it (bulimia).
Inner Hunger is an extremely candid account of the author’s personal experience with eating disorders and the hell she went through trying to become healthy again – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
For, as the title suggests, Apostolides wasn’t just dealing with an extremely unhealthy relationship with food, she was unsuccessfully trying to feed an inner hunger with an external substance – food – that could never satisfy what she was so desperately lacking in herself.
However, the book isn’t just the graphic details of her personal journey. Rather, as the back cover explains: “Inner Hunger is more than just a memoir: it is a starting point on the road to recovery. Realizing the importance of therapy and guidance in her own healing process, Apostolides includes invaluable sections giving the causes of eating disorders; different types of treatment; advice to parents, friends and educators; and a list of organizations offering information and support.”
Obviously, Apostilades is not alone in her struggle. According to The Emily Foundation (US), 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating – and 90% of those are between the ages of 12 and 25.
Eating disorders are a significant issue that are not going away any time soon. Although I don’t have any sage advice or personal experience to share on the subject, I know an expert who does: Esther Kane, Registered Clinical Counselor and author of the excellent book, It’s Not About the Food; A Woman’s Guide to Making Peace with Food and Our Bodies.
If you know of someone who might be struggling with an eating disorder, Esther’s article, How to Help Someone with Disordered Eating, is a highly informative and helpful read.