Thursday, May 22, 2008

Polly

The National Eating Disorders Association magazine, Outlook, recently published an article on Polly, a valued member of our blog community. The writer was one of Polly's sorority sisters at Virginia Tech, offering another perspective on her. Since many of you knew, or knew of, Polly, I'm posting the article below (click to enlarge).

3 comments:

Palmtreechick said...

Thanks for posting that article, Dr. Stacey. I could write a novel of a comment but I will try to keep it short. Polly was everything that Katie wrote about in that article. From the outside she did seem to have everything going for her, but inside I knew her life wasn't what it seemed and that she was suffering. That never stopped her from wanting to know what was going on with me and wanting to make sure that I was okay. She wanted ME to be happy and healthy though she was suffering so much. She was an extremely caring person. She had a crazy personality, which I loved. We spent many nights cracking up on the phone. There was a lot of pain behind that mask though, both physical and mental. I wish she could have pulled through it and that she was still here today, either to laugh with me or listen to me when I'm freaking out, and vice versa. I still scroll through my phone and see her name in there and think for a second that I can call her, then I remember...no one will answer.

Thanks.

Fauve said...

I found the article moving, but...It also dismayed me, to a certain degree. First, let me explain: I saw the documentary, Thin, and came to know of Polly Williams through it (as well as the book, Thin, that came out after the documentary). Both are very intense and deeply moving. The book, Thin, even more than the DVD, shows how wide-spread eds are; there are women of ALL ages who have anorexia, and their portraits inside the book (both their words and the images taken of them) are very shocking and sad, yet extremely helpful for this reason: eds Don't just go away once you aren't young and pretty, anymore. They are long-lasting illnesses, in many cases, and they take a terrible toll on people. Watching Thin, I found Polly, especially, to be so amazing and real and wonderful. The author of that article writes of Polly movingly. However, as one of Polly's sorority sisters, it's strange that she found Polly's illness to be as shocking for her to discover as she says it was. Maybe she thinks that only a certain type of person gets eds; I don't know. And, Certainly, I can understand that Polly's *death* was (and Is) shocking to anyone, but the fact that she had an eating disorder? This is hardly shocking to comprehend, I think, from any woman attending a college. Inf fact, sororities, in particular, are well-known to harbor eating disorders; pipes often have to be refurbished because so many of the girls are bingeing and purging constantly. Even if the pipes have not been affected where Polly used to be a member, I am almost positive that eds are just as rampant at Virginia Tech as at any other college. Polly's illness is really sad and I'm sure she hid it very well. Still, one of the saddest things of all is this: it's hardly shocking that Polly Williams suffered from an ed. Another sad fact: probably many of her friends suffered - and continue to suffer from - eating disorders, too.

Beth said...

Fauve is right. People act like it's so shocking she had an ed, but that's just denial that they themselves, or close friends, have the same problem. Maybe we wouldn't be so behind in recognizing ed's as an illness if people weren't so secretive and shameful about eating disorders.