I couldn’t sleep last night and while flipping through the channels, found Intervention – a show about people and their addictions. This particular episode was about Nicole (#74) who has suffered from an eating disorder since she was about 15. At 17, doctors placed a feeding tube inside her stomach because she refused to eat. She is now in her thirties and still has the feeding tube. She will chew food and then spit it out. She injects herself with liquids about three times a day to get her “nutrition.” She is also addicted to pain medicine that she dissolves and injects through her feeding tube.
The episode was quite disturbing. It’s amazing how people can form addictions, usually because of trauma (in her case, she was molested as a child). Yet her trauma lasted over 20 years. She just couldn’t get over it and her coping mechanism became not eating. I can’t even imagine how unhealthy her body is. She even suffered a heart attack, but didn’t stop. She had two daughters; the first one was only 3 pounds when born because she did not get enough nutrition.
It also makes me wonder what our ancestors did – obviously, there wasn’t a feeding tube option. If someone refused to eat, she would have just starved to death. So are eating disorders a modern disease? Do we only manifest them because we have the luxury of not having to hunt and gather our food? Our relationship with food and nourishment has de-evolved way too far. I think that Paleo men and women did not have eating disorders – they would eat what they could, when they could. I’m not saying they didn’t have trauma in their lives – they probably had much more than we can ever imagine. Perhaps some may have chosen to stop eating as their way of coping with life – but they simply died, they weren’t kept alive by a feeding tube.
I understand that everyone has their own issues, stresses, and addictions in life. Yet if we could somehow return to a simpler lifestyle – a focus on food, shelter, and well being – perhaps we wouldn’t have these ghastly disorders.