For those dealing with anorexia, it’s difficult to lay out and explain what they’re going through with words. For 24-year-old Christie Begnell, who is a Sydney-based illustrator, the better way to express her feelings was through drawings. Begnell created images that represented and explained what it’s like to face the terrible disease.
The artist was interviewed by BuzzFeed and she explained how drawing out her problems with anorexia helped her conquer it and regain her sense of self.
After dealing with a breakup that so happened to also collide with family, work and university difficulties, the disease slowly made its way into Begnell’s life and she gradually began noticing the symptoms. She felt as though her “world was falling apart,” before eventually experiencing suicidal thoughts and severe depression. “I had started dieting after gaining a bit of breakup weight but it very quickly became an obsession,” she told BuzzFeed.
While continuously drawing and illustrating her journey through anorexia, she made the brilliant decision to collage all of the drawings into one collection and create a book called Me and My ED.
Through her illustrations, she named her eating disorder Anna. For Begnell, Anna was separate from her, with different motives, values and goals. And in the midst of dealing with her anorexia, it was difficult to distinguish who the speaker was. “Is this me or Anna talking?” she asked herself once she was fully recovered.
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Ah the infamous before and after photos… 📸🎞 A topic of debate within the community. Is it helpful to post them? Is it sending the wrong message? Is it doing your recovery justice? Personally, I'm hesitant to post my own. When I see my unwell body contrasted with my present body, I am triggered. I think "oh my goodness, look at how small I was. I wish I could go back to that", and am quick to forget the misery and desperation that came with that body. I also know that media use our weight loss and gain as a dramatic statement to make our stories more "interesting". Well, they certainly did for me anyway. What are your thoughts on this? Are you for or against before and after photos and why? 🦄
Begnell’s journey with the terrible disease wasn’t easy, but drawing out her emotions and situations certainly impacted her positively, helped her cope and led to her recovery from anorexia. “If I can’t talk it out or figure it out in my head, I draw it out.”