Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anorexia t-shirts

This is an amazing story of one girl's battle with anorexia nervosa and her steps to battle the disese in public.

From The Gazette via PostSecret. The t-shirts are available for purchase here.

T-shirts put eating disorders out in the open
Reigning fair queen has struggled with anorexia since age 10; her homemade shirts are a reminder to herself and others what’s at stakex

Malament’s T-shirts reflect the statistics. The front of one pale pink shirt reads: ‘‘20 percent will die from their anorexia.” Some research indicates that anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of people with anorexia nervosa who don’t receive treatment die.

The back of the shirt asks ‘‘Is it worth this?” above a list of 18 side effects associated with the illness, including ulcers, hair loss, infertility and kidney failure. Other side effects Malament lists include fatigue, depression, shame and isolation.

The last side effect she lists is heart failure.

Malament, who now lives in Washington, D.C., is studying psychology and literature at AU with hopes of one day helping girls just like her.

‘‘I’m trying to get myself under control so I can do that,” she said. ‘‘It’s hard to say eating disorders are bad when I still have this relationship with mine.”

That’s what makes the T-shirts so important to her.

‘‘I’ll often wear it when I have a bad day,” Malament said. ‘‘That’s why I put the question on the back. Because I need that reminder more than anyone else.”

She said friends and acquaintances are surprised to learn Malament has an eating disorder.

‘‘It’s not glamorized,” she said of the T-shirt. ‘‘It’s saying, I’m anorexic and it’s not a good thing and I’m going to do something about it.”

Malament raised her voice in April during a book discussion at Barnes and Noble in Rockville. A crowd of about 100 gathered to hear Germantown resident Frank Warren talk about his project and book called ‘‘PostSecret,” which shares the secrets strangers send him on post cards.

Malament, who wore one of her shirts, stood up and talked about her illness and the T-shirt project.

At the end of the book discussion, several teenaged girls approached Malament. One petite girl with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail quietly asked Malament to send her a T-shirt, but she didn’t have the money to pay for one.

Malament told her she would send her one for free.

The girl hugged her. Malament hugged her back.

‘‘It will be OK,” Malament whispered. ‘‘It will be OK.”


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