When Geneviève Garon was in the depths of her suffering, she needed to hear stories like hers. To find her way, to know that she was not alone, not crazy, and not incurable. It was in the years 2018 to 2020, while she was in therapy to treat her eating disorder.
“During the day, in group therapy, I heard the other girls talking, but back at home, I couldn’t find a podcast or documentary in French. There was Skin and bonesfrom the NFB, but it dates from the 1980s…” What Geneviève was especially looking for was stories that give hope.
An updated project
Journalist Geneviève Garon has been working on this project for two years, alongside director Martin Girard. And it’s ready, in time for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Divided into seven episodes, In trouble immerses the listener in the reality of eating disorders through those who experience them or who have experienced them: Catherine, Ariane, Mégane and her mother, Caroline, Marie-Pier and her partner, Antoine, David, Geneviève.
The podcast show is primarily intended for people affected by it and their loved ones, but there is something for everyone: with her own story behind it, Geneviève Garon offers a sensitive, moving and taboo-free foray into the the world of eating disorders and the psyche of those who suffer from them. Regardless of the type of disorder, the age and even the sex, this suffering has something universal, notes Geneviève Garon, surprised to have found herself to this extent in the testimony of a man – the teacher Antoine. “In his thoughts about success, about rigor,” she says.
What do all these people have in common?
Geneviève Garon takes a moment to think. “It’s often having the impression of having always acted according to what others expect of you, without necessarily knowing what you really want,” illustrates the young woman, met in her bright condo, to Montreal. And then, it’s a way to manage anxiety when, sometimes, you feel like you have no control over anything. »
For some of them, like Catherine, hospitalized three times in two years, things are still difficult. “But there are also some who are doing very, very well,” says Geneviève Garon. It allows us to see that we are right to have hope of recovery. » To recover, but also “to do things that we never thought we could do before”.
Host of First the weekend info at RDI, Geneviève Garon would never have thought of returning to the Douglas Institute either as a patient, but as a journalist. No longer fragile, but solid.
When I spent my days at the Douglas, there were times when I felt very far from the life I wanted to have. Going back gave me the feeling of coming full circle. It was a bit like finding my identity in that.
Genevieve doubted that she would ever be able to eat what others eat “happily,” and live without “working out all the time.” Yet this is what happens to him. “I’m much better, even better than when I spoke about it three years ago,” she said, referring to her passage Everybody talks about it, in 2020. She was invited to the show after opening up about her eating disorder on Facebook. She then wanted to explain her absences from work (she had two stops of several months between 2018 and 2020), but also to break the silence and the shame.
“What remains are little patches of eating disorders here and there that gradually go away. The ambivalence is no longer there, explains Geneviève. There is no happiness in that. I know it. »
The encounters she meets during the podcast show clearly highlight this ambivalence towards recovery. At her lowest point, Geneviève Garon told herself that it was better to be thin and unhappy than fat and unhappy.
But when you start eating better, everything clears up in your head. Things that were extremely heavy become more tolerable. Life gets a little sweeter every time. And at some point, you don’t want to go back.
As a society, she says, we must continue to think about our relationship to food and body diversity, to this tendency to glorify food “discipline”, to our comments on appearance. “We see it in the series: there are many people who heard a comment as a child and who still remember it 20 years later,” she says.
What Geneviève Garon wants above all, “is to give hope to people who could recognize themselves through the testimonies, and understand that they can trust themselves and their body,” she says. You just have to give yourself the chance, start a journey, a therapy. Because it won’t go away on its own.”
A week to raise awareness
Organized since 2014 by Anorexie et bulimie Québec (ANEB) and Maison l’Éclaircie, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week takes place this year from 1er to February 7. Various events are organized, including a free online conference and workshop. In 2023, ANEB provided services to 24,202 people, an increase of 40% since the pre-pandemic period. More and more young children are turning to the organization, and people are presenting more and more serious cases.