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How 'To the Bone’ Was Hard to Watch in the Best Way Possible

Normally, I don’t write like this. Normally, I let thoughts stay in my mind, like waves hitting the surface of the beach. But I am feeling so much right now, and for some reason, I feel the courage to speak my mind. As of now, it is 4:49 a.m. and I stayed awake, determined to watch the new movie “To the Bone,” upon it’s release at 3 a.m. Now, as someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, has relapsed multiple times and knows psych wards and eating disorder treatment better than I know myself; I know subconsciously that I originally intended to watch this movie to trigger myself. To my surprise, my own disordered plan back fired, and I now feel more inclined to continue in my recovery.

What a shocker, right? Let me explain. Seeing the main character [Ellen] emaciated and close to death was hard. Hearing her family cry and watching their pain was dreadful. Watching Ellen and her friends in treatment deal with their demons brought back horrid flashbacks. Honestly, the movie was gut-wrenching and a few times, I almost shut the movie off. This all didn’t happen within a span of an hour and 47 minutes because this movie was awful, but because the movie was real. “To the Bone” didn’t make eating disorders look desirable, glamorous or even slightly appealing. Instead, the movie showed the disorder for what it really is: scary, unpredictable and overall just plain heartbreaking.

Without giving away any spoilers (or at least not too many), the movie handles the topic better than it was excepted to. It showed the impact of the disorder rather than just superficial aspects of the disorder. It portrays the disorder so well, that I never want my family to see it, because it is anxiety-inducing for me to imagine them seeing even just a piece of what goes on in my head.

At the end of the day it reminds the audience that eating disorders are an illness and kind of like quick-sand. As soon as you step into eating disorder behaviors, you’re going to have to choose to fight like hell to get out. That is before it’s too late.

“To the Bone,” reminded me why I choose recovery, each and every day. This movie has the power to really show people the danger and the loss of control that goes hand-in-hand with eating disorders. Though the movie difficult to watch, I would urge people to power through that uncomfortable feeling. By doing so, you are already starting to debunk the misconceptions about eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Screenshot via Netflix’s Youtube channel