As some of you may be aware, Netflix have recently released their chilling original featuring Lily Collins “To The Bone” – a film opening the discussion of eating disorders. The main plot of the film is centred around Ellen, a 20 year old college drop out battling a severe case of anorexia.
After failing to stick to an inpatient programme, Ellen’s step-mother takes her to see Dr. Beckham who suggests she starts his inpatient programme, something which Ellen isn’t too keen on. Whilst making progress at the house, Ellen learns that another patient, has suffered a traumatic miscarriage. Something that sends Ellen into a spin and which leads to her running away.
Close to death, Ellen runs to her mother in Phoenix. Upon her arrival, her mum recognises that she is guilty for not always being there for Ellen (who has now changed her name to Eli), after suffering postnatal depression and suggests that she takes things back to basics and feeds Eli with a baby bottle and rock her like a baby, to almost try and patch over the problems.
That night her mother expresses guilt for the postpartum depression she had after giving birth to Ellen and suggests that she might try feeding Eli with a bottle while rocking her to help solve both their issues. Eli finds the idea strange, but after her mother tells her that she accepts if she chooses death, she decides to go along with the idea and allows herself to be rocked while her mother feeds her rice milk from a bottle.
Whilst watching the film, I noticed some similarities between Eli and I. Both of us battled anorexia and behaved in similar ways, initially denying any help. Measuring our arms by putting our hands around the top of our biceps and seeing if our hands could wrap around them. Something which I done on a regular basis. Eli also wore a lot of baggy clothes, something which I did. I constantly wore hoodies, larger t-shirts and jeans that were too big for me. I had to put extra holes in a belt just to wear jeans. I was wearing jeans that were 32inches to start with, then 30inches and then 28inches, which at one point was still too big.
There has been a lot of negativity surrounding To The Bone, claiming that it is a false representation but in my eyes, I have never seen something more accurate. I connected with the film and it felt as though I was watching another persons life, not a film.
I don’t think the film “glamourises” eating disorders. I find that statement absolutely disgusting if I’m honest. Nobody really knows what it is like to battle anorexia unless they have been in that position.
The film focuses on gender in eating disorders, yet society doesn’t really talk about men suffering from eating disorders. Something which I want to change. A former friend of mine once told me that I only spoke about my battle with anorexia for ‘attention’. ATTENTION. How insensitive and cruel can somebody be? I never once spoke about it for attention. My only intention was to raise awareness of this killer.
I originally intended on sharing my opinion in a video but to be honest, I didn’t know how to speak about it, I felt more comfortable writing about it.
If you want to read more about my story, you can view my publication with ITV here.
If you or anybody you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, please know that the two charities below can offer help and support. Or alternatively, contact your GP, a friend, family member or contact me via social media or through the contact form on here.