The monster of anorexia, exorcised in a comic


“Today I can say that I have recovered. I think of 15-year-old Elisabeth and I feel different, liberated. The monster is gone.” That monster, which represented “fear, anguish and anxiety” and mastered it when he was just 13 years old, it is the anorexia, which she renamed, shorthand, as Nore. With 26 compliments, Elisabeth Karin Pavón Rymer-Rythén (Madrid, 1995) debut in the comic with ‘Eating in fear’ (Spacecraft), autobiographical vignettes where he shows that “it is possible to get out” of a ED, eating behavior disorder, which in Spain affects some 400,000 people. “One in five dies,” says the young Hispanic-Swedish.

She reached a critical condition before being admitted to the psychiatric unit of a hospital, in the disturbing White Room, for 78 days. “My heart was bad and it affected other parts of my body, but I didn’t realize how serious it was until later. And although later you are aware of the danger to your life, you do not care, It’s a form of self-harm, like a very slow suicide,” he confesses. “People only see someone who wants to be thin, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he adds in the face of a mental illness linked, yes, to food, but that in reality it is the reaction to an underlying problem that often has to do with “insecurities, self-demand, low self-esteem or a feeling of lack of control”, especially in the adolescence. society and “body-centered culture”with the bombardment of messages about the ideal weight or the bikini operation, or comments like “you have gained weight or you have lost weight”, do not help.

“Not wanting to eat hides many things, like emotions and pain or experiences that you cannot or do not know how to manage Pavon adds. You have to hold on to something and you manage it through food and controlling your body, weight, calories, what you eat, the steps you take a day, the exercise you do… and that monster appears, Nore, who is constantly there and getting bigger. Anorexia is a spiral from which it is very difficult to get out. It’s like an addiction, like smoking or drinking when you’re not well.”

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It was “therapeutic”, and he hopes it is for his readers. Pavón’s debut joins other recent autobiographical comics about eating disorders, such as ‘I’m fat’ (The Dome), of Meritxell Bosch, and ‘I also wanted to be like Ana and Mia’ (Zenith), of Leire Martin Curto, and coincides with the publication of ‘Live on air’ (Planet), testimony of elite gymnast Olatz Rodríguez.

Anorexia is a spiral from which it is very difficult to get out. It’s like an addiction, like smoking or drinking when you’re not well.

In ‘Eating with Fear’, which seeks to get as close to young people from 13 years old as well as their family environment and their doctors, it does not omit the “criticism with the treatment applied against anorexia”. He explains his admission, with a very low weight (he never says how many kilos to avoid comparisons between patients), in the White Room, a treatment unit for eating disorders with some very strict rules, a prison point and lack of sensitivity, to control patients. “They put you in a very hostile place. It was very hard and, in my case, the situation worsened, although others are doing well. I came out much worse because they only treated me physically, with a diet to gain weightr. But my head was very bad and when I left the room the monster was still there.”

“I came across very unempathic doctors and health workers, some quite terrible, who said inappropriate things and spoke cruelly and critically about your body. A more personal treatment is needed, with more calm and respect,” he laments. Others did help her, although she had a hard time finding a therapist whose treatment worked for her. She suffered successive relapses and was hospitalized three times.

“In there the monster did not enter, there were no mirrors and I did not see myself. It was fine, because that way he could not criticize me. But when you go out on the street you return to reality. You have to be careful not to relapse.” He details in the comic some weapons to combat Nore: confidence, self-love, hope, self-knowledge, security, goals & mldr;

Pavón also believes in the importance of detect it in time and for this the environment is basic. Talk about it with someone you trust, a mother, a friend, a brother… when strange behaviors towards food and exercise arise. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that it is happening to you. You have to ask for help, someone close to you and/or a professional, because it’s hard to do it alone,” she notes. For this reason, she adds an appendix to the book with TCA support organizations and associations throughout the country that you can go to, such as , in his case, the Nadine Foundation.

“It is important to see that you are not alone. There are many people who suffer from an TCA. It is supernormal,” he emphasizes before concluding that this will not be his only comic. “But the next one won’t be autobiographical.”

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‘Eating in fear’

Elisabeth Karin Pavón Rymer-Rythén

Editorial Standard

178 pages. €16.95


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