As a starting point I should say I do not believe the media is a cause for Eating Disorders though I do think it is an ongoing trigger and triggers are things that stop you recoving - like environmental craving regardless of physical addiction to drugs. Additionally I think that there is very little difference between an anorexic and a bulimic except their coping mechanism (in my experience, I'm willing to be proved wrong).
Many of us, at least on blogger, tumblr, forums etc. describe ourselves as selfish, attention seeking, fakes, not really ill and many other things in denial of our Eating Disorders (EDs). This is in partly the nature of the ED, we cannot see we are thin - or ill if we are not thin - or both. However I think this is where society and the media play their biggest role in triggering EDs (preventing recovery) is that firstly they portray this image of an ED as firstly Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and AN alone and secondly that an Anorexic is emaciated. Images shown of Anorexics often have a BMI of less than 15 whereas the diagnostic GUIDE to diagnosing Anorexia is 17.5. So as ED'd people without the capacity to objectively view our bodies we are shown images of people who may be 15lbs lighter that ourselves whilst still being diagnosable as AN (assuming average female height- 5 feet 5 inches (France and Northern America)). This then makes it much harder to recognise yourself as 'anorexic'. If you don't see yourself as ill how can you work towards being better?
This is further complicated if you are not in the AN category but infact (like more people) Bulimic or (like most ED'd people) ED-NOS. People of normal weights diet, a lot of overweight people diet so maybe we're just on some crazy 'diet'. It involves restricting calories and fasting and exercising but hey this is a 'healthy lifestyle change'. It may also (or only) involve binging and purging but even then we do not like to think of this as illness, more a fault, a slip, our inability to 'stick to the rules' the rules that are infact an Eating Disorder. The Eating Disorder. And we aren't skinny and we maybe aren't even physically ill according to blood tests, just tired, the odd chest pain, achey.
But we are ill, and we keep thinking we're not, thinking we're pretending and this is just something we could snap out of if we wanted to...or if we just got thin enough.
Or maybe we want to die, we're sick of it and we want to die but I've known people, sick enough to die, still not think they are really ill, still feigning control over the situation because they aren't the very image of anorexic in their eyes.
This was much more poigniant and well thought out when I started writing it yesterday. It stemmed from thinking to myself that I had done 'well'. Instead of getting upset and cutting and ruining the evening (a party). I got upset, spoke to a friend and calmed down. Going to sleep I thought 'well done' but SLAM into that thought came that it wasn't really well done, because I'm not really ill. I could 'do well' anytime, I shouldn't be proud of myself because I'm a horrible, lying, attention seeking, faker. Then I realised they were precisely the thoughts that not only defined my mental illnesses but trapped me in them.