Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Madness: A Bipolar Life

Marya Hornbacher's account of her struggle with anorexia and bulimia was documented in her 1997 bestselling memoir, Wasted. More than ten years later, Hornbacher has a deeper understanding of how her eating disorders, substance abuse, alcoholism, cutting, and erratic mood swings were part of another diagnosis: bipolar disorder. In her new book, Madness: A Bipolar Life, Hornbacher writes all of these behaviors into the context of her mental illness.

Time magazine
has an interesting interview with Hornbacher. Though the interviewer can't resist asking her about just how low her weight dropped when she was anorexic, Hornbacher manages to turn the typical sensational "You were HOW skinny?!" line of questioning around:

"One thing that I didn't realize at the time, that I became aware of later, is that bulimia is just as dangerous. A low weight isn't the only thing that kills you. Eating disorders in any form are incredibly dangerous..."

Check out the full interview, and if anyone is interested in reviewing the book and writing a guest post, please get in touch.


Rachel said...

The National Eating Disorders Association put out guidelines for the media to follow when responsibly reporting on eating disorders. Asking for one's weight, and especially one's lowest weight, is a big No-No. I wish more journalists would be more sensitive of the impact their stories can potentially hold for an unassuming public.

Claire said...

Yes, this is something that always leaps out at me in these interviews. Nancy Matsumoto wrote a great piece about walking the line between telling a compelling story and being a responsible journalist when it comes to covering eating disorders. And in case there are any journalists reading, here's the link to those guidelines Rachel mentioned.

Related: Tipping the Scales: Responsible Reporting on Eating Disorders